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September
13

Best Home Security Upgrades

Home Security TipsMaking your home secure is rarely a one-and-done project, but it should be a top priority. As technology advances and criminals develop new techniques, it's important to regularly upgrade your home's security features. This can prevent break-ins, protect your loved ones and property, and give you peace of mind. If you're wondering where and how to start, the following suggestions by our brokers will help you take the right steps to protect your home against intruders.

  • Video Doorbell
    Simple to use, easy to use, and immediately obvious to anyone who approaches your door, video doorbells are a popular home security option. The doorbell has a camera, speaker, and microphone, so you can see, speak to, and hear visitors through an app on your phone or tablet, no matter where you happen to be. You can receive notifications and a live feed from your front door when someone walks by or presses the bell. When buying a video doorbell, look for two-way audio, high-resolution video, infrared night vision, and motion sensing.


  • Smart Cameras
    If you're worried about the security of your backyard, side alley, or garage, smart cameras can provide peace of mind. They come in a range of sizes, capabilities, and prices, with most having speakers and mics. The cameras connect straight to the Wi-Fi and can be controlled and viewed remotely using a smartphone app. Indoor options are smaller and more discreet and a great option if you want to keep an eye on the inside of your home. Features you'll want to look for in a smart camera include a wide field of view, audio recording, motion detection, and high resolution.


  • Alarm System
    A smart alarm system is another great security upgrade to consider for your home. There are many options available, from a range of battery-powered sensors you affix to your windows and door to motion sensors for hallways, rooms, and landings. The system will send you a notification if any movement is detected while it's armed.


  • Smart Lights
    Smart lighting combines convenience and enhanced security, but it isn't an obvious intrusive device. The Wi-Fi-enabled LED lightbulbs are simple to install and can be controlled from a smartphone app. You can dim the bulbs, choose their color, and turn them on or off – manually or on a schedule. To make things a little less predictable when you're away, you can set the system to light up at a random time and make it look like someone's home. Smart lights can also be linked to smart cameras, motion sensors, and alarms for enhanced security.


  • Solid Doors
    Most burglars use the door to gain entry into a house. It's also easier to carry valuables out the door. If your doors are weak and flimsy, a well-placed kick or slam could be enough to allow someone inside in seconds. Some of the best security doors are made of metal or solid core wood. Avoid hollow-core doors or those with a lot of glass. You can also reinforce your door with a barricade or a strike plate installed with 3-inch screws for greater strength.


  • Door Locks
    While you're at it, conduct an inspection and change your locks if they're damaged or easy to pick and bump open. This is also important if you have extra keys floating around with friends or strangers. Re-key your locks or replace them with smart locks. Smart locks communicate with your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, allowing you to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere. Traditional smart locks have a number pad or touchscreen, and then some rely on an app on your phone to handle the locking and unlocking functions. When buying a smart lock, it's important to know whether or not it can also accept keys.

  • Secure Windows
    Windows are also common entry points for intruders because they're often left open, and the latches aren't always effective. To improve the security of your windows, install key-operated levers or locks. Some other ideas to burglar-proof your windows include burglar bars, reinforced glass, shatterproof glass, sensors, and cameras. Prickly bushes can also help make your windows less desirable and harder to access.

Bonus Tip: Make sure to lock down and hide your Wi-Fi network, rename it, install anti-virus protection, create a strong password, and install a firewall. You don't want to leave your security system or smart home gadgets open to cyberattacks.

Are you in the market for a new home with smart security features? Contact us today, and we'll be happy to show you beautiful and secure properties in the Pacific Northwest. We can also provide expert advice and help you find the best value if you're looking to improve your home's security before selling.

August
16

National Honey Bee Day: Plants Bees Love on the West Coast

Honey bee gardensOne of the best reasons to buy a home is to have enough land to practice all your hobbies. Gardeners know it's crucial to have enough space for their plants to flourish. By choosing the right plants and nurturing them in the right ways, they make a positive impact that reaches far beyond their own home.

Never is this more obvious than when it comes to the humble honey bee!

Support Your Local Honey Bee Population with Bee-Friendly Gardening

National Honey Bee Day, also known as Honey Bee Awareness Day, is observed every August 21 in the United States. What better time than now to learn precisely what you can plant to attract bees and other pollinators? After all, the great majority of plants need pollinators like the bee to help them thrive!

When gardening to attract honey bees, remember that these little creatures have preferences. Flowers that consistently attract honey bees have visible pollen or nectar, making it easy for them to reach. Long, thin flowers don't appeal to bees, whose short tongues can't reach in. 

Hybrid flowers bearing big, showy blooms tend to have less nectar and attract fewer honey bees.

In addition to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are common pollinators. Just because you see one type, it doesn't mean that the other types have been scared off. Plant a variety of flowers and you will get plenty of different pollinators. For those who are wondering, blue is widely believed to be honey bees' favorite color!

For a more bee-friendly garden, our brokers encourage you to consider these additions:

  • Bee Balm
    These colorful flowers have a unique "frilly" appearance and attract a wide range of pollinators. In addition to bees, you can expect to see more butterflies and even hummingbirds. Their distinctive dark green leaves hold a surprise: When crushed, they provide a surprisingly strong citrus-mint smell.

  • Joe Pye Weed
    Don't be put off by the name – this perennial plant is far more than a simple weed! Beloved by butterflies, in particular, Joe Pye Weed adds a pop of vivid pink, purple, and white all throughout late summer and fall. The dome-like flower growths are supported by lovely vanilla-scented leaves.

  • Yarrow
    Throughout history, Yarrow has been prized in many areas of the world as a plant associated with healing. These days, this perennial is appreciated as a drought-tolerant and colorful addition to any garden. It is highly attractive to both bees and butterflies. Beginning gardeners love yarrow because it is so easy to care for.

  • Delphinium
    This flowering plant adds texture to a garden thanks to its tall spires of colorful flowers. Those flowers come in a full spectrum of colors including blue, lavender, red, pink, purple, and white. A delphinium is sure to attract its share of admirers of all kinds – but it is particularly favored by hummingbirds.

  • Hardy Fuchsia
    With long, tubular flowers, the hardy fuchsia is another plant that calls out to pollinators of many different kinds. Bird-lovers enjoy planting it as a rest stop for hummingbirds and other feathered friends. Multicolored flowers are not uncommon with the hardy fuchsia, which usually blooms from late spring until frost.

  • Penstemon
    Bees can be attracted to the gently fragrant penstemon in surprising numbers, visiting its tubular flowers from far and wide. Butterflies often choose to alight there, too. Penstemon is well known among gardeners for its propensity to thrive in hot, sunny conditions. Beware that it does require regular watering.

  • Catmint
    A distant relative of the catnip plant, catmint won't be quite as compelling for your feline friends – bees, on the other hand, adore it. Bees are by far the most common catmint pollinator and will be visiting from late spring through the summer. Catmint's loose spikes of pink, lavender, or white can fit in many places in your garden.

Plant a few of these flowers and you're more likely to see honey bees buzzing along happily in your garden. Local, native plants often get lots of attention from bees. You can make their job easier by creating a water source in your garden. Bees use the water to cool their hives.

Looking for a new home with a yard perfect for putting your green thumb to the test? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Bain to discover real estate opportunities throughout the area.

August
23

Rainy Day DIY Projects

Rainy Day DIYDepending on your point of view, rainy days can be either the best or the worst. It's frustrating being stuck in the house with nothing to do. But with a little creativity, there are all kinds of activities you can participate in while waiting for the weather to clear - especially for new homeowners who are working to make their new house their own. Here are a few DIY projects that can help you pass the time and feel productive on a rainy day.

  • Build a Birdhouse
    This is a simple but rewarding project that you might even be able to get your kids to help you with. All you need are a few small wooden boards and some basic tools like a saw and a drill. Build the house, decorate it, and when the rain stops, hang it in the yard to give the local birds a place to hang their proverbial hats. Be aware: if you paint your birdhouse, sometimes the paint smell can keep birds away the first year. If you do choose to paint your birdhouse, go with light, muted colors that reflect heat rather than absorbing it and won't attract predators. And be sure to use non-toxic paint.

  • Make a Chalkboard Wall
    This one is much simpler than it looks. It doesn't require a large, unwieldy board or even the use of nails or screws. Rather, with a special kind of paint, you can give a wall or section of a wall in your house the look and feel of a chalkboard. Clean the wall thoroughly first, then apply a coat of chalkboard paint. Wait a couple of hours, then apply a second coat, then a third coat after another couple of hours. Let it dry for three days before marking it with chalk. Once the wall is ready, though, you can use it to make shopping lists, leave notes for family members, and more. Plus, you and the kids can use it for future rainy day activities, like playing tic-tac-toe or even just doodling. It's the rainy day gift that keeps on giving.

  • Change Knobs and Handles
    Look at your drawers and cabinets. Do you like the way the handles and knobs look? Maybe they're showing their age, or maybe they just don't fit with your aesthetic. The good news is, they're easy to remove and switch out for new ones. If you have the replacements handy, most likely, all you'll need is a screwdriver and maybe some new screws.

  • Do Some Odd Jobs
    There are probably plenty of small jobs around the house that you've meant to get to but just haven't had the time. Well, a rainy day is a perfect time. Take a screwdriver and tighten up that wobbly chair. Change the burnt-out bulb in your light fixture. Rearrange your pantry to make things easier to find. There are also several jobs that homeowners should perform periodically but most people tend to forget. A rainy day is a great opportunity to catch up. For instance, check your HVAC system's air filter and see if it's time to replace it. If the filter is white and translucent, it's still good. If it's dingy, gray, and opaque, then it's time for a new one. Another task that's relatively simple but a bit time-consuming is doing a deep clean of your dishwasher. Remove the bottom rack and do a quick clean of the drain on the bottom. Then, put a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run it through the cycle. Once it's done, sprinkle baking soda on the inside, and run it through a rinse cycle. When it's done, your dishwasher will not only be cleaner but function more efficiently.

  • Get Your Kids Involved
    Let's face it. The ones who are most likely to be bored on a rainy afternoon are your kids. You can let them sit and watch Netflix all day while you do home improvement tasks, or you can get them to help you. If they're old enough and responsible enough, take the opportunity to show them some basic DIY skills: how to use different tools safely, the importance of some of those odd jobs, etc. You can spend some time constructively and bond with your children at the same time. Then when the next rainy day rolls around, you've got a built-in helper for the next set of DIY tasks.

These are just a few things you can do on a rainy day to make your house feel more like home. Our brokers can get you set up in the perfect house to meet your needs. What you do with it after that is up to you. Contact us anytime, rain or shine, to learn more!

January
25

11 Tips for Upgrading Your Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen Upgrading Tips

At one time, kitchen appliances were considered primarily functional. They brought a new level of convenience to households, but style-wise, most designs were pretty limited.

Today's appliances have become equal parts, time savers, and decor statements. Keep your kitchen looking modern with these tips from our brokers for upgrading appliances. 

  1. What Is the Born-On Date?
    Nothing lasts forever, and that's certainly true for appliances, no matter how expensive or advanced they are. Don't hold your breath, hoping your 10-year-old dishwasher can hang on. It may still be operational but most likely running at a sub-par performance. Know the average lifespans of appliances and make plans to replace them when the time comes.

  2. Repair or Replace?
    Uncertain whether a repair is preferable to a replacement? Experts recommend the 50-50 rule of thumb. If an appliance is more than 50 percent through its expected lifespan and repairs would run more than 50 percent of buying new, then go with a replacement.

  3. The Price Is Right
    Appliances are major purchases, so even if you've included them in your budget, you want to get the best value for your dollar. According to home improvement guru Bob Vila, stores want to clear out the old inventory when new models come out. Shop for dishwashers in September and October, refrigerators in May, and ranges/ovens in January. Holidays are also good times to watch for sales.

  4. Go Green
    When it comes to appliances, green is more than just a color. As appliances continue to become more energy-efficient, newer models can help preserve the environment and save you money on your utility bills. Check an appliance's Energy Star tag, which displays its Energy Star rating along with annual estimated energy use and cost.

  5. Mix and Match
    In the past, have your kitchen appliances been replaced piecemeal? Unfortunately, not all products share the same lifespan. As a result, they often end up being replaced at different times. The clashing styles cause an imbalance that throws the look of the whole kitchen off. If possible, it's best to replace all your appliances simultaneously for a coordinated appearance.

  6. Check the Warranty
    Before you purchase a new appliance, be sure to check out the warranty. If you're choosing high-end appliances, it may be worth the investment to buy an extended warranty that will cover potentially costly repairs. 

  7. Style and Substance
    The days of basic white appliances are in the rearview mirror. Of course, vintage is always in style, so you can certainly get hip, retro-styled designs. Stainless steel is high on the popularity list, but a color is also an option. Benjamin Moore has chosen Aegean Teal as the Color of 2021, while Pantone offers two: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a lemon yellow. Black, red, and brown are other good choices.

  8. Lifestyle Choices
    Do you love spending hours in the kitchen with Food Network how-to videos running on your iPad? Maybe you're a working parent who wants quick but healthy ways to feed your family. If your kitchen isn't compatible with your lifestyle, the net result is frustration. Consider the role you want the kitchen to play in your life and design accordingly.

  9. The Sounds of Silence
    No one wants to yell to be heard over a noisy dishwasher or clunky range hood. Even when working properly, older appliances are much louder than today's models that operate with barely a hum. Stop letting those annoying sounds drown out your latest Netflix binge.

  10. Higher Education
    Has your home become "smart?" Innovations such as voice-activated assistants like Alexa and programmable thermostats make it easier to manage your home, even when you're not there. Smart appliances let you keep an eye on what's in the oven or make extra ice when company's coming, all from an app on your phone or tablet.

  11. Lay of the Land
    A kitchen's layout and placement of appliances are intertwined. Maybe the original builder ended up putting appliances where they fit, rather than where they actually made sense. Between the current range of sizes, styles, and installation possibilities, it's much easier to create a logical flow more conducive to efficiency. 

Whether you're the owner or buyer of Portland homes for sale, we provide friendly and experienced assistance. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Bain for more information.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 09/29/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 09/29/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of RMLS (last updated Thu 09/29/2022 12:50:32 AM EST) or Willamette Valley MLS (last updated Wed 09/28/2022 11:51:47 PM EST) or COAR/MLSCO (last updated Wed 09/28/2022 11:31:24 PM EST) or NWMLS (last updated Thu 09/29/2022 1:23:54 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Bain may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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