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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
3 Rooms To Refresh in Your Home as the Pandemic Ends
If you’ve been social distancing for the majority of the past year and are now slowly adjusting to the new normal, you’ve likely spent a lot of time staring at the walls of your residence. As the events of the past year and a half slowly phase out, choosing to spruce up your décor and alter the look of your home may change your mindset as well. Below are recommendations from NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals on the three rooms that may need a refresh as we move out of the pandemic.
- Your Home Office
According to Pew Research Center, 71% of employed Americans worked remotely during the pandemic. If you fall into this category, you may have begun working with a laptop on the kitchen table at the beginning of the pandemic and slowly transitioned into the spare bedroom, claimed the corner of your kids’ playroom, or even cleared out an unused closet to make room for a tiny workstation. Regardless of the size of your home office, it could probably use a change in lighting and decoration if you plan to keep working remotely.
If you haven’t already installed full-spectrum lighting that mimics the color temperature of sunlight, now is the time to do so—or better yet, move your desk so that you work near a window. Research shows that being exposed to natural light can help people focus and stay awake during the daylight hours. Invest in ergonomic upgrades such as a high-quality chair with back support, a good desk, and a headset for virtual meetings.
- Your Living Room
We’ve replaced going to the movies with renting new releases on streaming services, and many of us have grown to enjoy staying in, ordering in, and spending a good deal of time in our living rooms. Perhaps you moved into a new house during the pandemic to make room for your family’s new work-from-home, attend-school-from-home life, or maybe you just started looking for a new residence. Consider updating the main living space to reflect your current tastes.
You may want to wallpaper the entire room, but you don’t have the budget to hire a professional. Choosing peel-and-stick wallpaper that you can apply by yourself may be the solution. It’s affordable, simple to apply, and it features adhesive backing that can be easily removed so that you don’t have to worry about making costly mistakes. Measure the dimensions of your room ahead of time and order your paper to be printed on-demand to ensure that you have exactly the right amount.
- Your Kitchen
The pandemic has led to an uptick in cooking at home due to social distancing. If you spend more time in your kitchen making food for your family than you did before, think about giving it a much-needed upgrade. You don’t have to splurge on granite countertops and tile floors to make a lasting change. Consider painting your cabinets an on-trend color or using backsplash tiles (or even adhesives!) for a fun, affordable change.
As we move into a year filled with hope for the future, it can be fun and spiritually rewarding to decorate your home to reflect the change. Consider attractive and budget-friendly options that reflect your personal taste to create a space that you and your family can enjoy every day.
A HUGE Thank You to Tina Martin for guest writing this blog post! Visit her website Ideaspired for more great articles!
Float The River This Summer!
Pagosa Springs is known by many as a summer vacation hotspot. Between the world’s deepest Hot Spring, millions of acres of National Forest to explore, and the abundance of local shops, restaurants, and breweries, there is plenty of fun to be had! If you are looking for a way to relax and cool down on a hot and sunny day, tubing might be for you! The San Juan River winds through downtown Pagosa, making for a fun float through the town! The town of Pagosa Springs even does some river restoration, making the tubing route safe and fun for all ages!
Tube rentals are available at Pagosa Outside, located on the main strip next to The Peak Deli. The cost ranges from $15-50 depending on the type of tube and length of rental. They also have a shuttle bus that will drop you off and pick you up; so you don’t have to walk through downtown with a tube on your back! No permits or paperwork are needed to privately tube on the San Juan River, so if you have your own tubes you can go out for free; you just have to do more walking!
If you have any questions about tubing the San Juan River, give Pagosa Outside a call, they are the local experts! If you want to tube in Pagosa, but don’t have a place to stay, give us a call at 970.507.8655 and we can help you find your NextHome!