Turning your House into a Smart Home

Smart Home
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Smart Upgrade: The Benefits of Smart Home Technology

When our parents and grandparents talked about upgrading their homes, they meant things like slapping on a fresh coat of paint in the front hallway or refacing the kitchen cabinets. However, things are a lot different these days. Today, when Gen-Xers and millennials talk about upgrades, they mean things that the older generation would swear came right out of Star Trek or maybe even the Twilight Zone

Smart home automation improvements add to the value of your home and create a nice level of convenience. They are increasingly popular among millennials because they’re energy-efficient and convenient, not to mention the “cool” factor. As people spend more time at home because of COVID-19 lifestyle changes, smart tech has become an improvement that homebuyers look for, making it a must-add for sellers looking for a healthy ROI. 

If you’re not sure how a smart home upgrade could benefit you, keep reading! This article brought to you by Amy Collett and NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals.

Appliances

Smart appliances are one of the most popular high-tech home upgrades you can make. A self-regulating, programmable smart refrigerator can help you save on energy costs, as can smart water heaters and washer/dryers. Security features like automatic locks and home monitoring systems, which allow you to look in on the homefront through a phone app, are even more popular among homeowners than appliances. 

Smart Locks
This is another smart feature with a definite “cool” appeal. There’s no need to fumble with your keys in the dark or risk being locked out when your doors can be upgraded with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled automatic locks. What’s more, they’re programmable, which means you can arrange to give certain people (family, friends) access to your home, so no need to worry about paying to change the locks when someone loses their keys in a bar or restaurant.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting can make a tremendous difference in your electric bill each month. Smart LED light bulbs can save you up to 75 percent on energy costs. They can be installed with a dimmer switch, light intensity control, and motion sensors that allow for lighting to switch on and off depending on whether or not anyone is in the room. One of the most appealing features to young homeowners is voice control using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Homekit. 

Smart Sprinklers

This may not be near the top of your “gotta have” list, but for homeowners who have a green thumb, it’s a definite favorite. With built-in wifi, you can program your smart sprinkler system while you’re on the road, at work, or anywhere, for that matter. It’s an environmentally friendly upgrade that could save up to 50 percent on annual water expenditure.  

Hiring Help

Consumers, especially young ones, are into improvements that will benefit them right now. Smart home security systems allow homeowners to see who’s ringing the doorbell, which helps them to stay in control of their environment — who wants to open the front door to a guy selling magazine subscriptions? These smart home security systems can be surprisingly affordable; just do your research so you get one that has all the features you want!


Many smart home improvements can be made easily, without the need for an expert. For example, if you can screw in a lightbulb and use a smartphone you can set your house up with a money-saving smart lighting upgrade. However, if you’re looking at something more extensive or more technologically sophisticated, consider hiring an electrician who has experience with smart home technology. 

Adding value to your home is always a good idea, especially if it involves saving money using popular new applications. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and help us live more efficiently, so it makes sense to upgrade a home with the latest smart technology.

A big thanks to Amy Collett for guest writing this article! Check out her website here: http://bizwell.org

Exploring the National Forest

What to Bring on your Adventure in the Woods

The National Forest around Pagosa Springs is a big space… and we mean big! With over 3 million acres of wilderness and national forest surrounding the town, there is plenty of space to explore! If you want to go exploring in the San Juan National Forest or the Weminuche Wilderness, you should prepare for a variety of weather, terrain, and wildlife interactions! This post should outline the basic gear you should bring when exploring anywhere in the United States; and some essentials specific to this area. Let’s get into it!

Exploring
Photo Courtesy: Gavin Kiker Photography
  1. Water – Water is at the top of this list for a reason. Water is important no matter where you are or what you are doing. It becomes more important as you gain altitude because it helps combat the headaches and dizziness associated with altitude sickness. I try to carry at least 2- 32oz Nalgene bottles for a day in the forest so I know I have enough!
  2. Shoes & Clothing – The weather in this part of the country can change drastically in a matter of a couple hours. In July it can be 90 degrees at Noon and 55 degrees and pouring rain by 3pm! This makes it extra important to wear layers and pack the appropriate clothing for the conditions. I try to always bring a jacket and rain poncho or full rain suit when I want to spend more than an hour or two in the woods. As far as footwear goes I highly recommend wearing boots that provide good ankle support. These kinds of boots can prevent ankle sprains; a big deal when you are alone and away from civilization! Waterproof boots are also a good choice if you like exploring in the rain. Waterproof boots will be warmer due to lack of ventilation; something to consider if your feet tend to get hot.
  3. Cutting Tool – A cutting tool in the woods has a million uses. Whether you need to get a splinter out of your finger, cut a string from your shirt, or cut a tree branch to fashion a splint, a good pocket knife or multitool is essential in an outdoor emergency. I never go exploring without one! A multitool has the advantage over a normal pocket knife because they usually have several different tools and even a pair of pliers built in! I personally carry and recommend Leatherman multitools.
  4. Map & Compass – While you don’t necessarily need a map and compass to start exploring, it’s a good idea to bring them along! A map and compass can help you find your bearings if you find yourself lost. You can also use them to mark landmarks that you want to visit again later! A simple compass can be bought for $15-20 and is light enough to always bring with you. As far as maps go, I recommend going into the Forest Service office and asking for maps for the specific areas you want to explore! They will even have topo maps that show elevation so you can see how steep your route will be.
  5. Food – You need energy to explore and food gives you energy! I always try to bring high-energy snacks to keep me going throughout the day. Protein bars, trail mix, jerky, fruit, etc are all great, compact snacks that will keep you up in energy. Be sure to bring a ziplock bag or similar to keep your trash in until you can properly dispose of it. Do not litter!!
  6. Fire – It can get cold at night in this part of the country, even in the middle of summer. If you get lost or injured in the woods and have to spend the night you are going to want some way to build a fire! I think a Bic or similar rugged lighter is the bare minimum you should bring on your outdoor adventures. These are pressurized so they work outdoors and they rarely leak fuel. If you have a little more room for gear, I would also bring a flint and steel in addition to the lighter. This leaves you with two viable options for starting an emergency fire. Be sure you know how to properly build a fire before heading out!
  7. First Aid – The San Juan and Weminuche Wilderness is a rugged terrain with some extremely remote areas. If you get hurt way up in the woods it can be nearly impossible for help to make it to you! Carrying a well-equipped first aid kit can allow you to take care of minor injuries by yourself until you are able to make it to civilization! It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of the components of your first aid kit and how they work. You can even print instructions to keep in the kit! I recommend Adventure Medical Kits if you are wanting a good pre-built first aid kit.
  8. Sun Protection – Pagosa Springs and surrounding wilderness areas are very high in elevation compared to most of the United States. Pagosa Springs is sitting at 7,126ft above sea level and most of the places you’ll be exploring will be higher. Being higher than sea level also means you are closer to the sun and sunburn can be a serious issue! If you know you are going to be in the sun a lot I would recommend wearing long shirts and pants or using a good sunscreen. It’s no fun wearing a hiking backpack with burnt shoulders… trust me!

These are some of the most important pieces of gear that you should carry with you in the woods! Whether you are running out for an hour in the woods or planning a weeklong excursion, these will help you make it home safely! If all this talk of exploring is too exciting to ignore, give us a call at 970.507.8655 and we can help you find a place to stay in Southwest Colorado!

Snow Removal

How To Shovel Your Deck, The Right Way!

Snow shoveling is something most Coloradoans are very familiar with, especially in Pagosa Springs! While it seems fairly straightforward, shoveling 3 feet of snow off of your deck can be difficult if you don’t know how to do it! Below are some guidelines that will make your Winter Chores a breeze!

Snow Shoveling

Before It Snows:

  1. Inspect your deck for lifted nails or screws. These can catch on your shovel or shoes while you are shoveling. Not fun!
  2. Move anything below the edges of your deck. Snow will pile up over time; you don’t want your snow blower buried in snow under the deck!
  3. Put your snow shovels where you can easily access them after it snows.

After It Snows:

  1. For Light Snow, the best way to clear your deck is actually to sweep it with a broom! A regular corn broom works great for this, and wont snag on the wood. This method is great because it won’t scratch your decks finish like a snow shovel could. If you want to kick it up a notch, a good leaf blower can also take care of light snow on your deck!
  2. Shovel Parallel To the decking. Shoveling snow into the edges of your deck boards will tear the decking up. It will also make it much harder to clear snow, as you will get caught on the edges more often than not.
  3. If your deck has an ice problem, do not chop the ice with a shovel! The best way to cure an icy deck is with ice melt. There are many types to choose from, some are even pet safe! So shop around and find an ice melt that best suits your application. This is good to have on hand anyways! Sprinkling ice melt on your deck after shoveling will ensure no ice forms on the newly cleared surface.
  4. Make Hot Chocolate and admire your work! It is really that easy to properly clear your deck!

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t buy or sell a house! Give us a call today at (970) 507-8655 to talk to a real estate professional. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to keep up to date with NextHome events and Virtual Open House videos!

Common Real Estate Questions

Real Estate Questions Answered

In this post we cover a few of the common real estate questions that we get asked!

Real Estate Questions
Staged Home

Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market – You’ve probably heard the terms “buyer’s market” and “sellers market” at least once when discussing real estate. While these may sound confusing, they are actually pretty basic terms! A Buyer’s Market is when the inventory of property exceeds the demand for property. This puts the buyer at an advantage because there are a lot of properties to choose from at competitive prices. A Seller’s Market is when the inventory of properties is low but the demand is up. This puts sellers at an advantage because there is less competition, so they can ask more for their property!

Build vs Buy – This question is a common one, especially in areas with many lots for sale, such as Pagosa Springs. Building a home can be a great option for a few reasons. You can choose where you want to build, how big you want your home, and exactly how you want it to look and function! New builds may have unexpected costs or complications that you must consider in the initial build cost. Buying a home already built may be a better route for many buyers. These homes are usually ready to move in much sooner, the prices are typically negotiable, and you don’t have the same upfront costs that come with a new build. The cons of buying a built home include older appliances and other things that may need maintenance sooner. You are also more likely to compromise on features you may want when purchasing a pre-built home. There are many pros and cons between building and buying a home; it really comes down to what you think will work best for you and your lifestyle!

Buying a Foreclosure – A foreclosure is a home that’s seized and put up for sale by the bank that gave the original owner a loan. When you see a home listed as “foreclosed,” it means that it’s owned by the bank. Foreclosures are usually less expensive, have fewer title concerns, and often have a great renovation potential. Foreclosures are usually sold “as-is” so there are maintenance concerns that you as the buyer would be responsible for fixing. There are many ways to get a loan for a foreclosure, and if you have a licensed agent helping you throughout the process, a foreclosure can be a great investment!

Should I Get Pre-Approved First? – The answer is YES! Pre-Approval should be the first step you take when preparing to buy a home. This is how you know how much you can afford, if you can afford a home. You don’t want to shop until you find the perfect home, only to realize you can’t quite afford it! If you have any questions on how to start this process, give us a call at (970) 507-8655.

Who Pays The Realtor Fees? – This question is pretty easy to answer! Typically in a home sale, the seller pays the realtor fees, as they are the ones making money on the transaction. The amount the seller pays is negotiable and may vary from deal to deal.

Common Closing Expenses – Typically, the home buyer will pay 2-5% of the purchase price of the home in closing fees. These fees will cover the cost of things like insurance, inspections, taxes, attorney fees if applicable, credit checks, etc. The average total closing cost in the United States is $3,700.

How To Prepare For Showings – Showing your home to strangers can be strange, especially when you are only getting little notice beforehand. You should be ready to show at all times; staying flexible is important as everyone has different schedules. That last minute-showing could be the one that sells your home! It is best to leave the property for showings as prospective buyers will be more comfortable talking about the property. If you have pets, be sure they are picked up after and make a plan of where to take them during showings! To see our post on home staging, click here!

If you have any further real estate questions, please feel free to give us a call at (970) 507-8655. You can see the homes we currently have listed for sale on our featured page. Let us help you find your Next Home!

Vacation Rental

Davis Cup Available Now!

We have a newly listed condo available for rent in core area of Pagosa! With two beds in the loft and a high-tech steam shower downstairs, this space is perfect for your next Pagosa Springs vacation. Located within the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner’s Association, this rental gives you access to a rec center with indoor saltwater pool, Jacuzzi, weight room, and exercise classes. You will also have access to several stocked lakes in the area for your fishing and boating needs.

Check the full listing out here for more information. To view our full inventory of rental properties, click here: Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rental

Time To Go Hiking!

Hiking In Pagosa Springs

With July ending, and Pagosa getting much needed afternoon rain showers, it’s the perfect time to hit the trails and do some hiking!

Pagosa Springs is full of hiking trails, ranging from easy 1 mile hikes like the Piedra Falls trail, to more difficult 9+ mile hikes up into the High Country; such as the Little Blanco Trail, Fish Lake Trail, or the popular Pagosa Peak hike.

You can check out all the trails in Pagosa here: AllTrails.com

No matter what difficulty trails you are wanting to tackle, it is important to properly prepare for your adventure. Here are some general guidelines to insure you have an enjoyable experience:

  • Pack Plenty of Food and Water – You should drink 1 liter per hour while hiking, ideally. Snacks should provide good energy, no candy!
  • Carry a Flashlight and Waterproof Matches – Just in case you need to stay longer than planned
  • Bring a First Aid Kit – This one is pretty self-explanatory, if you get a cut, you can cover it up!
  • Leave Early – Afternoon showers are very common up in the mountains and you don’t want to be stuck in a lighting storm!
  • Stay On Trail – Preserve the land and views for future generations to enjoy!
  • Let Someone Know Your Trip Itinerary – If you become lost or injured and don’t contact them, they’ll know to send help.
  • Pace Yourself – You don’t want to be worn out halfway up the trail, take your time hiking and enjoy the southern Colorado scenery.
  • Enjoy Nature! – Put your phone down and take in the landscapes of this beautiful area!

With all the trails here in Pagosa, there is no reason not to get out and explore!

Quartz Ridge - Photo By: Gavin Kiker
Quartz Ridge – Photo By: Gavin Kiker
Little Blanco Trail - Photo By: Gavin Kiker
Little Blanco Trail – Photo By: Gavin Kiker

SUMMER TIME~ PAGOSA STYLE

Well it is official, PAGOSA SPRINGS IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

2020.6.3 river

The weather is beautiful & there is plenty of water in the San Juan River to go rafting.  As we all start to get outside more and realize how much we have missed nature. Lets take this to time to EMBRACE LIFE ~ enjoy everyday, tell the ones you care about that you care, do the things that you have longed to do. Enjoy everyday and be thankful for this day.

If you are in need of a vacation rental while in Pagosa Springs, CO or maybe you are moving to Pagosa Springs- or maybe you are looking to BUY in Pagosa Springs, CO – YOU ARE IN LUCK !  We can assist you with all of that, WE have Short term & Long term rentals as well as a experienced & talented Real Estate Agents.

please visit our website at nexthomermr.com or call us at 970-507-8655.