A lively forum for all things real estate.
Call Us Free: 1-888-809-8495

How to Build Smart Layers of Home Security

By Michael Chotiner


What do you think of when you hear the phrase “home security system”? Most folks picture a bunch of gadgets fastened to doors and windows that go off with a piercing sound when that door or window is opened. A lot of people consider a “sophisticated” home security system to be one that automatically sends a signal to a central monitoring station when an alarm is triggered. But frankly, that perception is now largely outdated.

To be genuinely secure, a home needs to be protected from more than just break-ins that occur when nobody is home. An effective security system is one that takes into account your neighborhood, your household makeup and lifestyle, the nature of your possessions and how they are stored, local weather patterns and even the condition of your home’s plumbing, heating and electrical systems.

While not all homes are prone to all of the risks in the list that follows, consider how a home security system can be designed to address these risks:

  • Break-ins
  • Theft
  • Home invasions
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Unauthorized access to valuables, firearms, drugs and alcohol
  • Challenges to supervising children
  • Challenges to monitoring, communicating with infirm, house-bound loved ones
  • Fire and smoke emergencies
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Power interruptions
  • Flooding

Chances are that your household is subject to more than one of these risks. The good news is that a wide variety of security devices are available to guard against or at least provide early warning for them all. The most useful devices are described in the table below. Experts advise picking and choosing among them and deploying the ones that best address your risks in layers within your security system.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.20.31 AM

The concept of layering can be applied in two ways:


  1. Identify the general risks and layer the security system to address all of them. For example, if you suspect your house is at risk for break-ins/burglaries, life/safety issues, and flooding, you’d want to layer your system by incorporating:
  • Perimeter protection, e.g., window and door contact sensors
  • Life/safety protection, e.g., smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Flood protection, e.g., a flood alarm near the basement sump pump


  1. Identify an acute, specific risk and build up layers of protection against it. For example, if you fear intrusions and your kids are frequently at home unsupervised after school, you might layer your system by incorporating the following:
  • Perimeter protection in the form of:
    • Deadbolt locks on all entry doors
    • Window locks on all accessible windows
    • An IP surveillance camera at the front door that enables people inside to see and talk to individuals at the door
  • Interior protection in the form of IP cameras that enable you to communicate with the kids and monitor what they’re up to when you’re away from home
  • Point protection in the form of alarm contacts on the liquor and gun cabinets


By the way, you might want to enhance protection by adding layers of deterrence. Yard signs advising passersby that your home has a security system can discourage would-be intruders. Large surveillance cameras mounted outdoors in plain sight are known to have the same effect. A dog with a deep, scary-sounding bark can work, too!

Many of the latest security devices are interoperable with laptops, tablets and smartphones. That means that you can use them to receive security alerts, view surveillance-camera data and arm and disarm the system from remote locations. It also means that when your contract with the central monitoring station expires, you can ditch the monthly fee and nuisance phone calls you get when a steak you’re pan-frying gives off a little too much smoke!


Michael Chotiner is a former construction manager who provides advice and how-to instruction for The Home Depot.  Michael writes on a variety of topics ranging from ‘how to install kitchen cabinets’ to ‘the best home security systems for your home.’  Visit The Home Depot to find a variety of alarm systems like the ones Michael talks about in this article. 


5 Design Tricks to Revamp Your Home

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune or go to design school to revamp your home. “It’s all about simplicity,” says Susan Yoder, interior design expert for builder Clayton Homes. “A little goes a long way when it comes to home décor and living spaces. Only a few simple changes can make a big difference and allow you to create a room you’ll be itching to show off to friends and family.”

To breathe new life into your space, Yoder recommends these tips.

1. Pops of Color.


“Nothing livens up a room like a bright pop of color,” Yoder says. If you have neutral-toned furniture, add lamps, curtains and accessories in bold hues. If you’re up for a painting challenge, an accent wall is a great way to incorporate color into a space. Choose your favorite color from a throw pillow or wall art piece in the room to pull the look together.

2. Varying Textures.



A room tends to get boring when it focuses on only one texture, so it’s important to create a sense of balance. Try varying the fabric types on your sofa and curtains. Add in some metal or wooden accents to draw the eye around the room. You can even play with lighting to reflect off certain objects and create visual interest.

3. Antique Feature.


Choose an antique or unique piece of décor to be the inspiration for the room. This could be a rug, lamp, chair or even a chandelier – anything that gets you energized and motivated. Get creative and run with the theme it creates. Or if your style is more modern, an antique object will stand out among your contemporary décor.

4. Symmetrical yet Functional.


The furniture collection in a room should form a restful, symmetrical layout. It’s all about balance. There should be between three and 10 feet between each seat. Additionally, instead of pushing each piece up against the wall to create more space, give your furniture a bit of breathing room a few inches from the wall. This makes the room appear open and airy.

5. Clutter-free Organization.


Getting rid of clutter is a grand challenge for most homeowners. When you decide to take on the mess, drawers and cabinets are your best friends. Take some time to go through your belongings and decide what to keep, donate or throw away. Store any leftover items that can cause clutter in an organized, out-of-sight area.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

What Realtors® Need to Know about Millennials

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials now number 83.1 million – more than one quarter of the nation’s population. As the largest demographic cohort in America, millennials are a powerful buying force and brands are vying for their attention.


They are the largest source of new demand for rental housing and represent 32 percent of the U.S. home buying market and 68 percent of first-time homebuyers. As such, their preferences will greatly impact the economy and shape the residential real estate market, including how homes are built and financed.

While millennials are key to the future of housing demand, the Great Recession has left them at a financial disadvantage and they are delaying key life milestones, such as homeownership, marriage and having children. Economic challenges, such as rising student loan debts, stagnant wages, a competitive job market, rising rents, and high price-to-income ratios, have made it difficult for millennials to save and/or qualify for a home. Despite their economic and financial challenges, Millennials are optimistic about their future and aspire to own a home – 84 percent consider a home purchase a good financial investment.

As digital natives, millennials are the most tech-savvy generation that advertisers have targeted. They demand instant access to product information, price comparisons, and reviews and are turning to trusted brands that offer high quality, transparency, and convenience at the lowest cost. They are also adopting new approaches to finding a real estate agent, searching for their dream home, and home finance.

This infographic shares various characteristics of millennials and what they value in the homebuying and selling experience. It also highlights their untapped demand for homeownership, which brings great opportunities for brands and those in real estate that are strategically positioned to serve them.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends for you and your clients. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Page 1 of 118123...102030...Last