Inside Your Home

7 Ways Smart Home Technology Improves Your Life

When you were given chores as a teenager, did you ever respond with, “Why can’t someone invent a self-cleaning floor?” Of course, someone eventually invented the iRobot floor cleaners. Going back farther in time, someone said, “Why can’t someone invent a machine to wash the clothes for us?” And someone did!

Today, the opportunities for adding automated features to our homes are growing. Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology allows our devices to “talk” to one another and for us to “talk” to our homes, even from long distances.

We call these homes with automation technologies “Smart Homes”. The benefits of turning your home into a Smart Home are tremendous.


You can schedule your thermostat according to your living habits, tell your oven to preheat while you’re in line at the grocery store, and see who is ringing your doorbell and even converse with them with devices like Ring doorbells.


Self-monitoring is made easy with smartphone apps. Add cameras, motion sensors, automated door locks, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also install leak detectors to alert you to increased moisture so you can proactively protect your home from costly damage.


Many accessible features are available for the elderly or disabled. Voice-command systems can control lights, lock doors, operate a telephone or computer. Other devices help the speech impaired. Even labor-intensive tasks like watering the lawn can be automated.


Create automations for shutting off lights when you leave a room, adjust the thermostat when you’re away, and operate motorized shades. Pair automations with energy-efficient appliances to find new ways to save on electricity, water, and natural gas.


Adding Smart Home features is a good way to improve the resale value of your home. These features can attract savvy homebuyers in the future and potentially increase the value of your home.


Monitor how much TV you watch, get an inventory on food in your smart fridge, and get an overview of your energy consumption habits over time. These insights help you to modify your daily habits and behaviors to live a lifestyle that improves efficiency.


Check with your insurance company to see if they offer discounts on your homeowners’ insurance. Find out which smart devices and systems qualify for discounts. These may include thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, motion detectors, moisture and humidity sensors, and smart security systems.

Things to Do

A Journey through Musical Cultures Around the World

A visit to the Musical Instrument Museum is more than just a stroll among interesting instruments from around the world. It is an experience that is enriching, inspiring, fascinating, and just plain fun.

MIM’s founder Bob Ulrich (then CEO of Target Corporation) was inspired to develop a new kind of museum that focused on the kind of instruments played every day by people worldwide. Today, the collection has over 8,000 instruments from more than 200 countries.

In the five Geographic Galleries, guests can see, hear, and experience musical traditions from every corner of the globe. These galleries focus on the major world regions of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Latin America, Europe, and the United States and Canada. Many of the instruments are rare and the finest of their kind. Many are historically significant and are part of distinctive musical cultures.

You will don a museum-issued headset, and as you approach video monitors in the various exhibit spaces, the videos begin to play footage of musical performances that show instruments played in their original contexts. The video combined with the sounds of the music transports you to other cultures and their unique styles of music and dance.

When you finish your tour of the museum, you will feel an appreciation of diverse cultures and the craftsmanship and traditions of instrument makers from the past to the present. Your sensory experience will pull on your emotions in ways you may not expect.

In addition to MIM’s regular museum exhibits, you can attend a wide range of concerts in their beautiful concert hall throughout the year. MIM also offers classes for children up to age 10, field trips for school groups, and a STEM video collection for educators.

Be sure to check out the oldest instrument in the museum: a paigu goblet drum. It dates to China’s Neolithic period and is estimated to have been created between 5000 and 4000 BCE. The drumhead may have been made of snake or frog skin. For more information about the museum, visit

Home Management

20 Steps to Sell Your Home

As a homeowner, you can play an important part in the timely sale of your property. With guidance from your RE/MAX Sales Associate, here are some simple steps to facilitate selling your home faster and at the best possible price.

  1. Make the Most of First Impressions

A well-manicured yard, neatly trimmed shrubs, and a clutter-free patio welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted front door. Work with your landscaper to blow away all leaves and be sure to freshen up the paint on yard walls. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.

2. Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends

Here is your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. A paint refresh adds value to your property. Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, “with a little work.”

3. Check Faucets and Bulbs

Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks, and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned-out bulbs leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home.

4. Don’t Shut Out a Sale

If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.

5. Think Safety

Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps; roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs, and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.

Check out our online guide 20 Steps to Help You Sell Your Home for the remaining valuable tips. Visit