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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.

June
29

Gutter Maintenance Tips for the Summer

Gutter Maintenance

Knocking out a few simple tasks this summer will help ensure you don't run into any unexpected problems caused by poor gutter maintenance. This may include leaks, damage to your insulation, siding damage, and more. Don't let this happen to you! Follow these simple tips, and you'll be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings. 

  1. Remove Collected Debris
    If it's been a while since you've performed any gutter maintenance, a lot of leaves, sticks, and other debris may have accumulated in there. Start by putting on a pair of thick gloves and pulling out debris by hand. This is the first step to ensuring water has a clear path to flow off of your roof and out the downspouts. This allows it to move safely away from your home, so it doesn't cause damage. 
  1. Check for Nests
    Birds often like to make their nests in gutters since it offers them a high perch that is relatively undisturbed. By summertime, the babies have usually flown away, making now a great time to remove the empty nests from your gutters. Just be sure to check carefully for any signs of life before pulling them out. If you notice babies are still living there, consider leaving them undisturbed and checking back in a few weeks. 
  1. Clean Off Your Gutters
    Now that you've removed the large items from your gutters, use a gentle abrasive cleaning product or soap and water along with a scrub brush to give the inside of your gutters a thorough cleaning. This will allow you to remove any moss, mold, or algae built up inside your gutters. If you notice areas where there's a lot of growth, pay attention. This could be a sign that you have a drainage problem. 
  1. Check for Damage
    Once your gutters are clean, you'll be able to tell if there are any damaged areas you need to address. Carefully check all of your gutters for holes that need to be filled, areas of rust, or anything that's sagging or askew. You can typically fix sagging gutters by pulling them upward using a pair of pliers. If you notice any sections of your gutter that are extremely rusty, consider replacing them. 
  1. Repair Any Leaks
    As you're checking for damage, there's a good chance you'll come across some leaks. This often happens when there are visible holes or areas that are buckling. You can also check for smaller leaks along the cracks and seams by using a hose to run water through the gutters. Watch out for any areas where water comes out before it reaches the downspout. You can effectively fix most gutter leaks with a waterproof sealant, like silicone caulking. Depending on the type of damage, you may also use some metal flashing and attach it using roofing cement. Once the repair has dried, run water through again to make sure it's sealed. If not, you'll want to call in a gutter professional to take care of the problem. 
  1. Visually Inspect Your Roof
    Since you're already up on a ladder, take a moment to visually inspect your roof. Keep an eye out for loose shingles, which can cause leaks. If your gutters haven't been maintained for a while, this may also cause water to pond on your roof, leading to additional problems. Catching issues early can help you get them fixed before they become a much bigger deal. For safety reasons, avoid getting up on the roof yourself. If you notice any potential issues, call a professional roofer to come out and take a look. 
  1. Install New Equipment
    If you've been thinking about installing new downspouts or gutters, the dry season is the perfect time to take on this project. You may also want to consider installing gutter covers. This upgrade prevents leaves and debris from falling into your gutters. While it will take some effort to install, you'll love how much it cuts down on your future gutter maintenance! 

Whether you're planning to stay in your home for the long term or you're thinking about moving soon, our brokers encourage you to keep up with basic maintenance tasks. This will help ensure your home maintains its current value and its curb appeal. 

We're here to help. Your dream home is waiting for you, so don't wait. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started.

June
7

Upcycle Your Furniture With This Guide

Upcycle TipsUpcycling has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with more people looking for ways to reuse materials and save money. It is a great way of transforming unloved, outdated, or unused pieces of furniture into something fresh, unique, and perfectly suited for your space. The good thing about upcycling is that no previous skills are required, and there are really no limits to what you can create. Upcycling is not just a cost-effective way of breathing new life into your old furniture, but it's also a great way to expand your creativity and reduce your impact on the environment. Our brokers have put together their top tips, which will help you create your ultimate upcycling adventure.

  1. Choose Your Furniture Piece
    The first step in your upcycling adventure is to choose what you want to upcycle and the purpose you want the improved piece to serve. You may have some old furniture lying about in the house that needs a new look, or maybe you've seen something in a thrift store or garage sale that would be perfect with a little creativity. Either way, you want to make sure the piece can easily be upcycled at just a fraction of the price if you bought it new.


  2. Make Sure the Piece is Structurally Sound
    It's important to look beyond the surface or the idea you have in mind when choosing a piece of furniture for your upcycling project. You don't want to spend time on something that will become useless or fall apart the next day. Look at the joints and structure of the piece before you buy or start the transformation. Good bones are important for extended use.


  3. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    Be imaginative when you see old pieces. Almost every item can be an upcycling opportunity, no matter how it looks on the surface. Something might look ugly at first glance, but you have to look past the flaws to find the potential. 


  4. Plan Ahead
    Whether you're upcycling a small stool or a complete dining set, you can definitely help yourself by preparing ahead of time. Have an end goal for your project and ensure you have all the tools and supplies needed to do the job. Give your piece a quick wash, sand it down and wipe it to get a smooth surface and get the perfect finish. Paint might hide many problems, but if your furniture has dents, holes, peeling paint, or scratches, these will be visible when painted over.


  5. Don't Get Carried Away
    While it's exciting to get started on transforming your furniture, you'll end being frustrated if you bite off more than you can chew. Choose something simple, like a small table that needs painting, and don't rush.


  6. Paint and Make Perfect
    If you're not after that distressed furniture look, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in breathing some new life into your furniture piece. If your piece looks old and dated, a little sanding and paint may be all that you need to achieve a unique and stylish addition to your home. Make sure you use good quality brushes that give good coverage and don't leave bristles in your work.


  7. Get That Distressed Look
    Old dressers, drawers, cabinets, or cupboards are ideal for distressed looks if that's your style. Sand down the furniture and use chalk paint for a matte or chalky finish. Chalk paints are also great for covering a dark stain. Once you've applied the paint, sand the surface for a distressed look that will add character to the piece. Target the areas that would see the most wear and tear, like the edges.


  8. Try Stenciling
    Stenciling is an easy step to full personalization. It's a way to get creative and add a personal touch to your furniture. You can find stencils online or designs yours if you have the right equipment. Use a stencil brush to stamp your creativity onto the furniture piece and add a coat of wax for protection. Don't worry if your work doesn't turn out as expected, you can always stencil or paint over it again.


  9. Don't Forget the Little Touches
    Perhaps you've decided to upcycle a piece of furniture that has knobs on it. Replacing the knobs with some creative pieces can make a huge difference to your piece. You can use anything from door knockers to big keys or just any piece that catches your fancy. And even though you're going to replace your knobs, it's good practice to remove the old ones to make sure your paint job is a clean and smooth as possible. It will also save time if the new ones are smaller and there's a space with no paint.

If you're planning to sell or buy in the area, our team can help make the process easier for you. Contact us today.

March
1

Set up a Home Library for World Book Day

Home Library Tips

This year, don't just head to the library, consider setting up your personal home library. Whether you have a small or extensive collection, creating an at-home library can provide a wonderful way to display your favorite volumes. It can also make your home feel grander! All it takes is a little planning to create a comfortable, personal, and unique space. Here, our brokers share their best tips for setting up a home library fit for any space.

  1. Choose Your Spot
    Do you want to create a designated library room or transform an area within a room into a functional retreat? What you choose depends on how you want the room to function and the amount of square footage that's available. Also, consider the current size of your book collection and if you plan on adding more books in the future. Some good room options for your library might be a spare bedroom, home office or even consider displaying your books near the kitchen. Especially if a good portion of your library includes cookbooks! Looking for something a bit smaller? A personal book oasis can be carved out from an unused space such as a window seat, corner, or the area under a staircase. Another thing to remember when picking out your spot is you don't want to damage your books. To prevent this from happening, avoid places that are exposed to high levels of humidity and too much natural lighting.


  2. Focus on Your Display
    While your personal preference is essential, the types and quantity of your books will determine how you organize your book collection. Make sure the location you've picked has the space for them all. If you have large quantities of books, floor-to-ceiling shelving units, or rows of horizontal wall shelves will be your best options. Alternating vertical and horizontal book arrangements can add structure and visual breaks. For a smaller collection, you can use floating shelves or a free-standing bookcase that's properly secured to the wall.


  3. A Place to Sit and Read
    Proper seating is an important part of a home library. Whether your space will accommodate a single chair or an oversized chaise lounge, your seating should be comfortable because you're creating a setting for getting lost in a book. The type and size of furniture you choose will depend on how you intend to use the room. You can experiment with different seating arrangements based on the room's natural light or how well the furniture fits with lamps.


  4. Set the Mood
    The mood in your library will stem from its purpose and the ambiance you like during your reading time. This ambiance will be created by the combination of smaller design elements, including the color of your walls, the design of your textiles, the material of your furniture, as well as the plants, art, and accessories you choose to decorate with. You want to personalize your library, bring comfort to the room, and create an atmosphere that compels you to curl up with a book and escape from the stresses of everyday life.


  5. Prioritize Good Lighting
    Proper lighting can add comfort, sophistication, and utility to any room. With your library's design, you want to layer your lighting to ensure that you can comfortably see the words and also create a more inviting glow. Your lighting scheme should feature general, accent, and task lighting. Ensure you have task and ambient (general) lighting above or beside each spot in your seating.

Our team at Coldwell Banker Bain can help you find the perfect home for your book collection. Contact us today to start looking at available listings.

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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