Druann Jedrey's Blog
Keeping your home secure is a lot like maintaining a healthy lifestyle: If you prioritize it and develop good daily habits, then your chances of staying safe and healthy are vastly improved.
While there's no ironclad security strategy that's absolutely fail-proof -- especially when you factor in the element of human error -- the following security tips will help make your home a safer and more secure place for you and your family.
- Awareness is the key. Don't be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although your sense of well-being depends, in part, on having an inner feeling of safety and security, it's still necessary to lock your doors, be aware of your surroundings, exercise a moderate amount of caution, and follow a few commonsense guidelines. Even if you're fortunate enough to live in a "safe neighborhood", there's still an element of unpredictability that should always be kept in mind. In reality, it's not that unusual for a nice neighborhood to be targeted by burglars. Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but it only takes one incident for your belongings (and peace of mind) to be stolen by intruders. As the old expression goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
- A barking dog can often be an effective burglar deterrent. Since most dogs have a natural inclination to bark at strangers and intrusive noises, having a dog in the family can be a valuable part of your overall home security program. Any kind of effective alarm system, which can include a barking dog, will instantly make your home a less desirable target for burglars, con artists, and other miscreants.
- Flood lights also help deter residential crime. While burglars may not necessarily have a clear-cut plan for breaking into your house, garage, or storage shed, you can be sure they do not want to be noticed, observed, or paid attention to in any way. Motion-activated flood lights or other types of alarms can be especially effective, since these devices trigger an immediate response to an intruder's presence.
- Home security systems are worth researching. People come up with a lot of excuses for dismissing the idea of installing a home security system. Some say they can't afford it, while others claim they're hopeless technophobes, and couldn't possibly figure out how to program or operate a security system. At the very least, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the available options, prices, and technical support. Once you've taken the first step, proceeding forward will feel a lot easier and less intimidating.
Whether you’re a movie buff, like playing the latest video games, or just appreciate high-quality video and audio when you’re binging shows in Netflix, your experience can be greatly enhanced with a home theater system.
Technologies are ever-changing when it comes to home audio and video. The quality of DVDs now seems laughable next to 4K resolution HD videos. Similarly, bulky home audio systems that once required several huge speakers have been reduced to small “sound bars” that sound excellent and take up hardly any room at all.
If you’d like to turn your living room, basement, or any other room in your home into a home theater, read on.
Location of your home theater
The obvious choice for many when it comes to choosing a location for their home theater is the living room. And that might make the most sense for people who have small or mid-sized houses who spend much of the time in their living room.
However, if you’re looking for an immersive, distraction-free viewing experience, you may want to consider other rooms in your house, such as a finished basement or office.
What you’ll need
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to invest some time and money in your home theater. First, you’ll need an HDTV or projector and screen. Projectors can be a fun way to achieve the movie theater experience and are particularly useful in large rooms where you’re sitting far from the screen. However, quality projectors are quite pricey ($600 or more, not including the cost of a screen).
Choosing a television
If you go the television route, you have several options. Shopping for a TV is no easy feat. There are LED, OLED, 4K Ultra, and curved televisions. If you’re looking for the highest video quality and plan on streaming HD video with a high resolution, a 4K Ultra would be the best option.
However, if you aren’t particular about video quality and will be happy with anything that plays your old DVD collection, most LED televisions will do the trick at an affordable price point.
When it comes to audio quality, you might be surprised with the variety of systems on the market.
For the classic home theater experience, a multi-speaker surround sound system is the closest you’ll get to the cinematic experience. Since the rise of the sound bar, home theater systems have become much more affordable.
However, with most surround sound systems you’ll need to buy a receiver. You’ll need to set it up and find a place to put it (they tend to be pretty large).
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing speakers around the room and finding a place for a big audio receiver, a sound bar could be a great alternative. Starting at around $100 and scaling up to $1,000 depending on your audio quality needs.
Most decent sound bars come with a small subwoofer, but other than that they are small, lightweight and typically Bluetooth-ready, so you can just plug them in and start listening.
One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.
Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.
Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.
Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.
- Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
- Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
- Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
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