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How Smart Are Your Appliances?

 by Courtney Soinski

What if your dishwasher knew how dirty your dishes are?  What if your oven actually made you a better cook?  Can your refrigerator help you surf the web, play music, or make a phone call for you?  What if your cooktop regulated the heat under your pan for even cooking?

Whether you’re selling a home as a consumer or real estate professional, kitchen appliances are a big deal.  According to ratings collected by CNET, here are the top five kitchen appliances in high demand right now:

1. Dishwasher:

dishwasherWhirlpool WDL785SAAM – Want a dishwasher that knows how dirty your dishes are?  This unit is included in Whirlpool’s line of 6th Sense Live smart appliances and includes a “sensor wash cycle” which uses Whirlpool’s Auto Soil sensor and the water clarity to determine how dirty the dishes are. Depending on the reading, it may automatically add more water and adjust the temperature accordingly.  The WDL785SAAM is a tall tub, built-in dishwasher with two removable racks and a stainless steel tub, which holds heat better and is more energy efficient when compared to other dishwashers.



microwave2. Microwave:

Panasonic NN-SD997S – For a solid, good looking microwave, this high wattage, mid-price range stainless steel unit with blue LED display gets good reviews and has a large capacity.  The sensor functions are reported to do their job well and best of all, it’s a good deal.

Looking for more in a microwave? Check this Microwave Buying Guide. Newer options include a microwave in a drawer, super convection types for browning and new inverter technology so you can finally poach salmon and make fluffy omelets in your microwave.

3. Oven:

ovenDacor Renaissance 30″ Double Wall Oven – Can your oven make your a better cook?  CNET’s taste testers unanimously preferred the food cooked this oven over all other ovens they tested!  On the high end price-wise, this double oven is a critic’s fave.  They say you’ll have a hard time finding one with a better and more powerful cooking performance.


4. Refrigerator:

Samsung 4-Door Refrigerator with 8″ Wi-Fi Enabled LCD – This refrigerator syncs with the Galaxy S5 and Note 3, your television or your wifi connection so you can browse morning headlines, search recipe sites, stream music, or watch TV.  It will also keep your milk cold and your ice frozen with a 28 cu. ft. capacity, adjustable shelving, Twin Cooling

SamsungPlus” system, FlexZone” drawer with variable temperature control settings, along with the 8-inch LCD touchscreen.


5. Cooktops:

Bosch Benchmark induction and gas cooktops.  The newest innovation to stovetop cooking, induction stovetops from Bosch feature “FlexInduction” cooking with two separate cooking zones that can be combined to fit larger pots and pans.  The AutoChef temperature control supposedly holds a steady cooking temperature without fluctuating so food cooks more evenly.  Plus, it’s a pretty good looking cooktop.

Whether  you’re a master chef – or need all the help you can get, these hot appliances will add value to your kitchen and your home.



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The Three-Step Mobile Checklist

smartphoneBy Courtney Soinski

Now more than ever, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have their mobile phone next to them or within reaching distance. With the help of mobile technology, people can get the answers they’re looking for in seconds. Mobile technology is all about “instant gratification” and it’s become a basic expectation in today’s fast-paced, constantly-connected world.

The same can be said when we look at the real estate industry. When potential buyers are out and about, they want answers, they want them now, and they use their mobile device to get those answers, instantly.

As we immerse ourselves in the era of mobile technology, it’s easy to see that these devices are having an effect on how we interact in the world, have relationships, and do business. We can definitely see these trends as the real estate industry embraces a new consumer: a mobile consumer.

There are three things these mobile consumers rely on:

  1. connectivity,
  2. convenience,
  3. and access.

They not only expect to get information via mobile, but they are expecting to communicate with businesses from whom they buy a product or service.

According to the Google & Compete Home Shopper Mobile Survey, it was reported that 89% of home shoppers use mobile search at the onset of looking for a home and throughout their research. Meanwhile, 68% of are using mobile applications throughout their home search.

New home research happens on the go. In fact, 31% of home shoppers research on their mobile devices at work, 77% at their current house, 28% while waiting in line, 27% at a restaurant, and 26% at other peoples’ homes.

And, mobile is still evolving. We can expect to see many more ways of interacting with consumers will arise as we progress in technology and thriving businesses like real estate.


Real estate professionals trying to reach this target audience now have to incorporate mobile into their marketing and overall business strategy. Here are 3 easy steps to put your mobile plan in action.

  1. Look for a solid and stable mobile service provider that you can rely upon to be in business and up to date on technology years from now. Let them take care of keeping your mobile plan updated. That’s what you pay them to do.
  1. Integrate mobile into all your marketing. Include a call to action on all your advertising to text to receive more information, visit your mobile site or download your app. These types of messaging should now be on your business card, your postcards, flyers, print ads, listing presentations, billboards, etc., etc. – basically, anywhere you’d put your phone number or email address should now include a mobile call to action.
  1. Put your mobile plan into your listing presentation. Chances are, your seller now expect it.

Need more information on creating a mobile marketing plan? Contact your local Real Estate Book representative.


Source: Google & Compete New Home Shopper Mobile Survey

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Stay Productive with Smart Home Office Design

Whoever first said, “You can’t go home again,” probably wasn’t considering the 38 million home-based businesses in the United States, or the approximately 37 million households that have active home offices.  This is especially evident among real estate professionals.

It’s not just small business owners or lucky full-time employees who are working from home, either; the Bureau of Labor Statistics says 24 percent of people employed outside the home work at home at least some of the time. If you’re poised to become home-based, here are some things to consider as you’re putting your home office in order:

Location is key

Without the need to fight rush-hour traffic during a twice-daily commute, you may think the location of your home office isn’t that important. Actually, it is. Where your office is located in your home can affect your productivity and even your personal life.

Choose a room that’s in your home’s heavy traffic lanes, and you could face frequent interruptions. Park your desk in the game room over the garage and you may feel isolated from the rest of the house. Try to stuff a desk in a corner of your bedroom and you’ll spend most of your life stuck in the same room – you may even feel less inclined to sleep there if you’re always working in your bedroom.

You’ll need to balance personal and professional priorities in order to decide which room in the house makes the most sense for your home office.

Good lighting sets the stage for success

The harshness of artificial lighting is a common complaint among people working in offices outside the home. A window in one’s office has long been a sign of prestige in cities across the country, and having abundant natural light in a home office is one of the many advantages of working from home. Natural lighting has a mood-boosting impact that’s been well-documented, making office workers feel happier, healthier and more productive. What’s more, use of natural light can help reduce reliance on artificial lighting and trim utility bills accordingly.

Furnishings create a foundation

Considering how much time you’ll spend in your home office, it’s important to invest in furnishings that will be functional, comfortable, inspiring and in step with your lifestyle.

If you prefer to sit while you work on a computer, the comfort of your office chair will be key. Prefer to get in a bit of healthful exercise while you work? Consider an ergonomic desk that allows you to stand while you type. Many versions of standing desks also can be lowered for use while seated.

Desks should incorporate storage and easy access to electronic components. Be sure your furniture choices not only fit your needs, but the room’s needs too. A huge desk may make you feel like a Wall Street CEO, but your enjoyment will evaporate if you don’t have space to walk around the desk in a small office. It’s important to keep office furniture appropriate to the scale of the room you’ll be working in.

Ensuring your home office is set up to inspire can help you achieve greater productivity and satisfaction as you work from home.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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