A few of my favorite things
Owning a home is a great thing and after a while, once you get settled in, you really start to make things your own. Personally, my improvement strategy has been to pick one thing a year I want to do and vet it properly for cost etc. before doing anything. I thought this month we could discuss a few things you may have thought about doing but were not sure were worth it.
1. Cutting the cord. Two words, DO IT! I got rid of my traditional cable 3 years ago and have never looked back. With streaming services being available on so many devices, consumers now can pick and choose what they want to watch at a much lower cost. Platforms like HULU, Netflix and YouTube and others, offer some very affordable platforms that are much less expensive than cable. All you really need is a streaming device like Roku, Apple Tv or Chrome cast. For my house, we boosted our internet speed and got rid of Spectrum TV. Our bill was in the mid 200’s and we dropped to half of that and have not missed anything, including live TV. If you want live TV, I am a big fan of HULU live as it not only has live TV, but it also has original shows that are amazing. YouTube Live also offers live TV, but not the same popular originals. HULU live runs around $55 for live and a mere $11 if you don’t need live broadcasts and want limited commercials. Netflix has great programing as well for about $15 and if you have Apple TV, they have original programing. At the end of the day, you have a lot more control of the budget and there is never a need to say, “There’s nothing on TV!”
2. Wireless Speakers. Perhaps my favorite splurge in the house is my wireless sound system. I love that I can play music from pretty much any of my devices like a phone, Tablet, TV or other streaming devices. Some of the top-rated speakers come from Sonos, Bose and Apple. If you are an audiophile, be sure to test these out prior to buying. While they are very portable, they do not have the bass sound you would get from an in-place system. You might want to consider a bass module of some sort if that’s your thing. I personally love my Apple Home pods. I can stream to them, pick them up and move them into any room with just a change in the power cord and I can also use them for “Hey Siri” to give out voice commands to my other devices. I can say “Hey Siri, play disco music.” And it does just that. The pod is a speaker, but also a device similar to Alexa. You can accomplish the same thing with Amazon based products. What is truly great though is the portability. You are no long limited to your speaker placement.
3. Solar Power. This is not for everyone, but I must say, I now look forward to my electric bill. It used to be over $400 a month and now it’s $16.55. I am not only saving money, but also the environment. My overall monthly with the solar panel financing is about $200. This is NOT something you do if this is a home you plan on selling very soon, although most financing companies will allow you to transfer the balance to the new owner. By my estimates, I will be paid off in about 6 years and will be pretty much free of any substantial electric bill.
4. HUE Lighting. If you have recessed lighting and similar, getting things right for guests or TV viewing can be a challenge. HUE is a really neat series of WIFI lighting products that allow you to maximize the lighting inside and outside, not only by giving remote access to switching on and off but in some cases, color changing bulbs! We use ours all over the house. In the Family room, we simply speak out “Alexa, make family room lights blue” and they change. When we go to bed, we say “Hey Siri, sweet dreams” and the tv turns off, the lights in the family go off, the front door locks and the master bedroom lights in specific areas turn on at a lower level of color and finally we can verbally request that they be turned off when we are done watching TV and are ready to sleep. I love it. They are not cheap, however they are LED bulbs, so they don’t burn out and save electricity. It’s also a great security feature since you can program lights to come on and off when you are on vacation.
So, as you can see, there are some really neat things you can do to your home, not always to add value, but to add enjoyment! We work hard to buy our homes and deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labor. If you have any questions about any of these products, feel free to call me or email. I love technology and am happy to go into more detail!