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Protect Your Home By Tricking the Bad Guys

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Leaving on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time can be stressful for some. No one likes leaving their home, where they sleep at night, all their valuables, alone with protection or checking on them. But there are some tricks you can do to convince burglars that you are home, even though you are not! 

Before you leave, there are 7 things you can do to make your house less vulnerable to a break in and make your time away much more enjoyable: 

1. Dead-Bolts: dead-bolt window and door locks make it more difficult for someone to break in.

2. Alarm: Burglar alarms are the best way to alert emergency personal that there’s a problem. 

3. Exposed Hinges: Make sure all entry doors have the hinges on the inside.

4. Disconnect Internet: Keep your computers off and the Internet disconnected. If someone does break in they won’t be able to access your information and cause more damage.

5. Clean the Exterior: Put ladders, crow bars and anything else a burglar could use to break a window in a locked shed.

6. Timed Lighting: Put a timer on the TV and various lights. A flickering TV is all it takes to keep your house safe.

7. Don't be afraid to fake it: Fake camera on the outside of your home, high enough so it's hard to tell its fake. 

How wifi can save you money during the summer!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

In recent decades we have seen large advancements in thermostat technology, and even more so in recent years with the addition of WiFi controlled devices. Technology has gone from settable temperatures, to programmable (a huge break through of its time), to the all mighty WiFi Connected Thermostat. Since 2013, these devices have improved even more than the latest generation, saving even more money than any device before. 

WiFi thermostats are best known for drastically reducing homeowners energy costs. This is done through automatically adjusting the temperature depending on whether you are home, asleep, or away, by analyzing your heating and cooling patterns and adjusting for the energy-saving opportunities, and by letting you create temperature zones that can be independently controlled. According to many studies, home owners can save up to $200 annually by installing a WiFi device, which would pay for the device itself in the first year, and then continuously save you money from there on after. 

New Home Monitoring Technology

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you are a homeowner who is interested in the latest in home safety tecnhology, you will want to check out the latest from Schlage. They are now offering the ability to monitor and control yourr home from anywhere. Schlage LiNK™ is a new amazing technology that lets you remotely control and monitor access to your home 24/7 from any Internet enabled computer and most web enabled cell phones.  This new remote home management offers many benefits, below are some of the things you can do:

•Check the status of your lock and set temporary codes to your home from your Internet enabled computer or cell phone
•Change, add, or delete access codes to your lock remotely
•Access a 90 day history of who has accessed your lock in

Some of the benefits:

•No key to hide, lose, carry, or forget
•Ready to use out of the box. Installs quickly, usually in less than 30 minutes
•Powered by a 9-volt battery. If the Internet goes down or the power goes out, the lock still provides you secure access to your home
•Use the keys provided with the lock as a standard door lock
•Ability to program up to 19 unique user codes
•Add, change, or delete user codes in seconds

The system can be accessed via computer or cell phone and you can send a command to your home using the password-protected Schlage LiNK online interface on your cell phone or computer. The command travels to your home via the Internet, using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology, the same security used for online banking

Many cell phones support the Schlage LiNK application. Currently, Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones are supported with the Schlage LiNK phone application on Verizon. A Schlage LiNK application compatible with other Verizon phones is undergoing testing and should be available by the end of 2009. To see if your phone is supports this system, text “phone” to 695465 (MYLINK) on your cell phone to see if it’s compatible.

 

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Selecting The Right Generator

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The electricity can go out in any season whether due to storms or equipment failure. Having a backup emergency generator as part of your emergency plan can be a lifesaver. There are various types and sizes of generators on the market and depending on your needs, can range in cost and quality. If you are a homeowner considering investing in a generator, below are some helpful tips that can help you in your research..

Types of Generators

You can get generators in various sizes and types of power. The more items you plan to to provide power to, the bigger and more costly the generator.

Stationary Generators

A stationary generator is  outside-mounted and run on propane or natural gas and supply more power than a portable. They are typically equipped with a forced air or other type of cooling system that allows it to be enclosed typically outside mounted on a concrete pad similar to a central air conditioning unit.

  • Permanent generators are installed as part of the electrical system and provide power to the building wiring.
  • Electrical current from the generator may back-feed into the home's electrical system and cause damage or fire and ruin equipment if it is not properly installed. It is recommended a qualified electrician install a generator to a home electrical system.
  • Stationary generators are far more powerful than any portable unit, a stationary generator will allow you to weather any outage for an extended period of time.


Portable Generators

This type of generators are typicaly wheeled and are ususally the most popular, You will need to make sure you have an ample supply of fuel when using this type for extended use. This type is idea if you plan to use a few selected circuits such as  for lights in the general living area, heating or cooling systems, or refrigerator.

  • If deciding to use a portable generator, it is important to select one that is adequately sized. Some electrical motors in home appliances and equipment can be ruined or damaged if they do not receive enough electrical current.
  • Portable generators are least expensive and can be transported for camping, trips or other locations where temporary power is needed


Before you purchase a generator be sure to you have determined the total watts needed to power the items you need. This is important to help you determine what size generator is required. An electrician can help make this determination or you can check the manufacturer information for each appliance.

Whether you choose a portable or a stationary, all generators burns fuel and must be run outdoors. Always follow the manufacturers instructions and never run it in the garage or inside the home.

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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa