Lifestyle:

Buying and Selling Real Estate Just Got Easier

Technology has changed the way the world does business and the real estate industry is no exception. It is intricately involved in the way people look for homes or commercial property as well as the way people sell their property. Real estate agents also reap the benefits of the impact of technology on the real estate business.

The Buyer and the Seller

Many property listings are done online. Home listing companies have sites where potential buyers can search for the house of their dreams in the location they want. They get access to thousands of homes in the market within a few minutes. For example, a Realtor in Oregon can get information about a home for sale in Texas in a few minutes. In the past, it would have taken several days to get the information, and the information would not have been as thorough as it is online. Because the buyer will get his or her first impression of a home online, it is essential that the website be attractive, up-to-date and provides complete data about the property. When people can get so much information online, there is less chance that agents will put undue pressure on buyers and possibly force them into buying property that they don’t really want.

Most buyers will look online before they make the decision to visit a house in person. Technology benefits sellers in the same way. Their property has a much wider viewership. Salespeople no longer need to put in long hours taking potential buyers to house after house. This reduces labor costs.

The Real Estate Agent

Real estate digital signage has had a huge impact on the real estate business. It allows legal contracts and other documents to be signed without the parties being physically together. Digital signage means more images, videos and less text. Printing costs are greatly reduced, which, in turn, reduces operating costs. This will eventually cancel out the cost of investing in digital signage technology. Buyers will see high resolution photos and high definition videos and may be able to have a virtual tour of the building.

Agents need to figure out the costs involved in buying and selling real estate. Buyers want to know that the final costs will be and sellers want to know what their property is worth. Today, online mortgage calculators give this information quickly. This is a great advantage, because the buyer may change his or her mind by the time they get the information, if getting the numbers takes days.

Technology has made the real estate industry more efficient and able to organize and handle large amounts of data. In the past, the agent had the multiple listing book and the consumer didn’t get a look at it. Today, it’s the opposite. The consumer has unlimited access to the whole market. In the end, this benefits both the agents and the buyers and sellers. Agents need to retrain themselves to take advantage of this. It gives more privacy to the consumer and they are more in control of the whole process.

Autos:

Don’t Be Misled About Proper Tire Inflation

At the turn of the 21st century, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of nearly 12,000 vehicles to check the status of their tire inflation. The study revealed that almost 40 percent of the vehicles tested had at least one if not more of their tires underinflated by as much as 20 percent.

Furthermore, nearly 30 percent of the tested vehicles were operating with tires under-inflated by 25 percent or more. But the figure showing on the tire only reflects the maximum pressure the tire should reach, not the recommended pressure to which it should be inflated.

Busting the myth of recommended tire pressure

Why is this an issue? It all stems from the Firestone recall of 6.5 million tires after a series of accidents occurred as the result of poor tire construction. The “smoking gun” to blame for the tire failure leading to the rash of accidents was low tire pressure.

According to Best Tire Review, the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall shouldn’t be the actual pressure in the tire.

The effects of friction on tire pressure dynamics

As you drive your car, the movement of the tire on the road creates friction. Friction generates heat. Heat causes the tire pressure to increase.

If the interior tire pressure is filled to its maximum before this reaction occurs, it’s easy to see the potential for a tire to exceed its recommended maximum pressure. This makes for an unyielding ride, where the bumps in the road are more jarring on passengers and the vehicle suspension.

It reduces the footprint of contact on the road that causes uneven wear toward the center of the tire. Don’t let the sensation of steering response and cornering stability give you the false impression that overinflation is safer. Your tires will be more susceptible to puncture or blow-out while you’re driving.

The hidden dangers of under-inflated tires

There really is a bit of the Goldilocks scenario about determining the correct tire pressure. If they have too much pressure, they don’t grip; too low, and they can fail.

Low pressure absorbs more of the impact on the road. This can create improper flexing of the side wall and reduce roll resistance, not to mention the excess wear and tear on suspension. The effect can be overheating of the tire, which can lead to tire separation or blow-out.

Tire pressure monitoring

Vehicles that are 2008 models or newer will have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in. This is the result of the TREAD Act enacted by Congress in 2000 as a result of the failures.

The system performs by sensing the tire pressure either directly or indirectly, which means the warning light on the dashboard either indicates the actual pressure or simply reports a potential underinflation of any one of the four operating tires.

As helpful as this system may be, it can still lull drivers into a false sense of security, and encourage them to fail to check the pressure in a timely fashion. Nothing beats having a reliable tire pressure gauge that may be used to check on the true tire pressure reading while the vehicle is cool.

This is when it should be at the recommended pressure, which is typically found on the inside of the driver’s door, glove box, or owner’s manual.

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last update: October 23, 2014

Design:

Super Paints Improved by Technology

paint

A new paint job is the most cost effective means to improve the appearance and increase the value of your home. Paints have been upgraded through technology to last a lifetime and protect the exterior from the elements while adding a professional designer touch. According to this blog, a good painting contractor will provide a comprehensive warranty and maintain a safe and clean work area.

Protect Your Investment

For most people, their home is their largest single investment. It should increase in value over time and may provide an income during their retirement years. There are new methods, such as powder coating, that provide a durable covering without drips and bubbles. It is applied with a spray gun, and the surface needs to be prepared to remove any oil.

The professional painting industry provides much more than simply applying a new coat of paint. Technology has entered the industry providing high-performance coatings and specialized services like cryogenic paint removal and infrared thermographics for restoring homes and commercial buildings. The technology for painting the exterior of a home is basically the same as it always was, which means brushes, sprayers and rollers. However, the quality of these tools must meet certain standards to provide the best job.

Today, paint not only protects against the weather, it can also deter insects, mold and other harmful things. Exterior house paint is now enhanced by technology with special moisture-resistant properties, environmentally friendly low VOCs and other qualities that provide a longer-lasting finish.

When to Paint?

The right time to paint your house will depend on the climate. A professional painting contractor will be able to tell you when the best time is to paint your home’s exterior and how long the job will take. This will depend on the previous surface paint and how much work it will take to properly prepare the house for the new paint. A well-prepared surface and paint job can last for up to 20 years.

The contractor will look for chipped, cracked or flaking paint and any water damage to the wood or siding of your home. They will be able to tell you what is needed to get your house in good shape again. Even if your house doesn’t have any damage, it may look shabby, and a new coat of paint will greatly improve its curb appeal. This is especially important if you are planning to sell the house.

What to Expect?

You can expect professional service from a reputable paint contractor. Some of the services provided are:

• A painting schedule that is convenient for you and your family

• A free estimate without hidden fees

• Color sample books and professional advice on the selection of color

• Skilled painters who have been background-checked and safety trained

Remember, when friends and family visit you, the first impression they get is the exterior of your home. A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to make your home a showcase on your street. You can get the upgrade you need with a new paint job.

Lifestyle:

Innovative Pet Gadgets

Inflatable-Dog-Shower

Dog lovers confess that they often go to great lengths to pamper their four-legged friends. After all, who is more loyal or deserving? There is an increasing number of gadgets on the market designed for pets. All make life a little easier and more fun for the pet or the owner.

Electronic Flea Comb

In addition to providing dogs with food, shelter and adequate amounts of exercise, pest control is another common part of ownership. Some indulge in homeopathic remedies and others routinely purchase chemical-laden collars, sprays or other commercial products in hopes of keeping fleas and ticks at bay. Eliminating the pests may become as easy as providing a dog with routine grooming using an electronic flea comb. The battery operated device emits a low-voltage signal that kills pests on contact. The insects are then trapped on the comb for easy removal. The comb is deemed safe for dogs and cats of all sizes.

Inflatable Pet Shower

Many loving dog owners bathe their pooch in the family bathtub. Apartment living often inhibits the possibility of bathing animals outdoors. Besides the hassle, consider that the fur and dander flows down the drain and may create a clog. Salons and clinics are willing to provide the service for a sometimes hefty price. An inflatable dog shower is an interesting alternative. Most take just a few minutes to set up and can, in most cases, handle canines up to 100 pounds. A handheld shower head makes cleaning your pooch easy. Best of all, inflatable pet showers are usually portable making it easy to take with you on family vacations when you don’t know what the accommodations will be like.

Dog Water Fountain

On a hot day, dogs enjoy a refreshing drink of water. While a water bowl is a convenient solution, it is not long before the water warms and becomes a catch-all for leaves or insects. The stagnant water also becomes a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Gadgets like the WaterDog are especially useful for outside-only dogs. The automated fountain attaches quickly to an outdoor spigot. When a dog approaches, sensors initiate a cooling stream of water. As the dog turns and walks away, the water stops flowing.

Cool Bed III

On hot days summer days, indoors or out, dogs may have a hard time finding a comfortable, cool, dry spot to relax. Without electricity, the Cool Bed offers soothing relief from the heat. Just fill the pad with the recommended amount of water and the specially designed core goes to work to reduce the temperature. Appropriate for use indoors and out, the bed is constructed of a durable combination of nylon and vinyl.

PetHub Pet Locator

Technology also aids in keeping four-legged friends safe. Inevitably, dogs or cats escape from the house or yard. Some may yank the leash out of your hand when out and about on a walk. When wearing a PetHub tag, anyone with a smartphone can simply scan the QR code on the tag and instantly see the animal’s profile, owner and contact information.

Lifestyle:

How to Choose a Great Attorney

Unless you’re a business owner or extremely wealthy, you probably only think about securing a relationship with an attorney during a stressful time. It might be drafting a will, during a divorce or when battling for custody. However, a great attorney is important to have on call no matter who you are. It’s not just the wealthy, those with current legal woes or small business owners who run into barriers with the law.

The good news is that you don’t need to have an attorney on retainer in order to ensure they have your back. Of course, when on retainer they’re legally committed to you, making them at your beck and call within an agreed amount of time. What many people don’t know is that simply “knowing” an attorney through a complimentary meet and greet means they’re much more likely to get back to you in urgent situations.

How can you pick the best attorney for you and your situation?

1. Consider your overarching needs

Attorneys specialize in different areas, from DUIs to tax preparation. A comprehensive team or firm specializes in numerous fields, many of which are complementary. For example, a divorce attorney might also specialize in custody or tax issues. You know where your niche is and what you’ll be most likely to need. However, even if an attorney doesn’t specialize in your situation at the time, they can quickly refer you to a colleague who does.

2. Trust your gut

Meeting with an attorney in person is paramount because they’re more likely to remember you. However, what’s more important is that you can get a feel for who they are. Many clients are trusting their attorneys with their life and well-being. You want to make sure you’re comfortable and have rapport with your attorney.

3. Hourly fees aren’t everything

Just because an attorney charges a lot doesn’t mean they’re the best, and just because a lawyer offers a low ball figure doesn’t mean you’re getting a great deal. Fees are part of what can be used to assess the “worth” of an attorney. Also look at their background, education, testimonials and how many cases they’ve won.

4. Follow up on referrals

A good attorney will have many testimonials and referrals to offer. While there’s certainly the issue of privacy to consider, there will probably be many happy clients who are willing to give recommendations. If not, look at numerous review sites and check the Better Business Bureau.

 

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Lifestyle:

4 Things You Shouldn’t Post About to Optimize Home Safety

It’s natural to want to share exciting news on social media or your blog, but be careful. Over-sharing can put you and your property in harm’s way. Even if you think you have top notch security settings on Facebook or another shareable platform, that doesn’t necessarily stop people who you think are “friends” or their acquaintances from spying on you with ill intentions. What if their phone gets stolen and the thief starts scrolling through their newsfeed for tips?

While it’s frustrating, it’s often best to wait to share some information about your home and whereabouts or (in some cases) never share at all. Otherwise, you might be unintentionally dishing up ideas and suggests for criminals and burglars without even knowing it. Here are some of the biggest posting faux pas to avoid and why.

1. Posting about vacation plans

You might be really excited about that upcoming, international, tropical trip but if you post about vacation plans before they happen, you’re essentially telling people your home will be unguarded. It doesn’t matter if you leave out specific dates or have a house sitter on duty (and post about that, too). It’s pretty easy for a pro burglar to figure out when you’re gone and when any housesitters are off duty.

2. Details of your custom built home

You have a reputable contractor secured and can’t wait to share the plans of your dream home as they come into focus. However, there might be valuable tools left at the work site or a vandal might get a kick out of harming your future home before it’s even completed. Never post addresses or photos that give away location.

3. Your address

Some social media sites encourage users to post personal information including their address and phone number. Your real friends already know where you live, and in instances where you do need to share your address (like online invitations), do so in the actual invitation and make sure it’s closed. There’s no reason to include your address to all your “friends.”

4. Photos of your home

There are some instances where this makes sense, like when your custom built home is complete or you just bought a new house. However, make sure to blur out any address numbers and don’t snap photos of desirable and theft-worthy items like that shiny new ATV.

Steer clear of advertising a prime location for theft and vandalism. Why give criminals more incentive than they already have?

 

Lifestyle:

Travel With Technology

global

You love gadgets, and that love is about to be increased tenfold if you also love to travel. The best new travel gadgets are out and they will make your globe trotting adventures even more amazing. Pack up your iPad and smart phone and hit the road, rails, and air with some new toys.

Increase Your Phone’s Battery Life

You’re going to need your phone for directions and reservations. Mophie has taken their battery packs and combined them with increased storage so your phone won’t die and you’ll have room for hundreds of pictures and videos. It’s also going to have enough room for storing movies for long flights or train rides and all of your favorite music to tune out your noisy neighbors in the hotel. An accompanying app ties in with iTunes and your existing photo gallery so you’re not having to manually move everything around.

Bring Your Entire Digital Movie Collection

When you have kids, movies are critical to a relatively peaceful journey. Nothing hushes up a chorus of “Are we there yet?” than some devices playing Daniel Tiger and Frozen. However, unless you want to have the same three movies on repeat for the duration of your vacation, the space on your tablets probably isn’t enough to keep everyone happy. The LaCie Fuel is a compact device with up to 1TB of storage, more than enough room for movies and even entire seasons of your favorite TV shows. It holds up to 500 movies and can play on five different devices at the same time.

Have WiFi Almost Anywhere

Sounds like a dream come true, right? Apple and all of its genius has created a little gadget that can save your sanity, especially if you travel for work. The Airport Express extends the range of available WiFi or becomes its own “base station”. All you have to do is plug an ethernet cable into the box and then plug the box into the outlet. When you turn your computer on, it will connect to the Airport Express and you’ll have your own WiFi. Genius!

Save Your Phone from Drowning

Whether you’re going to the beach or just staying in swanky hotels with swimming pools, your phone is bound to have an accident eventually. The Optrix iPhone Suit is a clear case that protects your phone from high impact falls and a swim in water up to 15 feet in depth. This is a must have even if you’re going someplace notoriously snowy like Calgary. According to Hotel Calgary’s website, they have a swimming pool and a whirlpool, so keep your precious phone safe even when you’re venturing into colder climates.

You let technology make your life easier in every day life, so don’t let yourself be stranded in a strange place without everything you need. Thanks to technology, you can have almost every technological comfort of home no matter how far away you are.

Lifestyle:

Choosing the Bus over a Train or Plane

commercialbus

Bus lines have suffered for many years over misconceptions on the convenience and safety of traveling the highways. The truth is very different from the false perception, especially during the past decade. All bus line companies have done due diligence in reevaluating their customer service, along with upgrading their dependability and enjoyment factors. It is still true that many factors impact an inter-city bus trip. All customers must be considered and stops are scheduled in a way that addresses all traveler needs. But in metropolitan areas, using the bus makes excellent sense when all options are considered. An excellent example is taking a Washington DC to NYC bus trip.

Economics of Choosing Highways over Airways

Flying to a destination can seem to be the most feasible and quickest manner of transporting between cities, but that may not exactly the case. Using a Washington DC to New York City travel plan, it takes just over an hour to get to New York from Washington after takeoff. Depending on the airline and date chosen to take the trip, flight tickets are approximately $175 and upwards to $500 depending on the class. Baggage expense must also be considered in the cost of travel. Traveling by bus is easily a bargain in this choice. In addition, when considering time spent awaiting a flight or unloading at the destination, bus trips to close destinations often take a similar amount of time.

Comparing the Bus and Train

Buses have historically been infamous for delayed arrivals according to the timetable, a rap which flights have also endured. Trains such as Amtrak are usually much closer to accurate because the Federal Railway Administration requires railroad companies to explain in detail exactly why an Amtrak train cannot meet the arrival timetable. Amtrak is a private passenger train company that uses other company rail systems for a fee, so the hosting railway company must comply with the federal regulations for their access charges. Train dispatchers regularly hold freight trains or long periods to allow Amtrak right of way priority. For punctuality, the train would appear to be a better travel choice, but trains still run late and can rarely gain back the lost time. Using DC to New York as an example again, the price of an Amtrak ticket is approximately $100, while a bus ticket is considerably less.

Comfort and Enjoyment

The purpose of the trip can make a big difference. Those who are along for the ride and traveling for entertainment purposes the bus can still be a fun experience. While trains offer more mobility while in transit, such as being able to walk around, many bus line companies have focused directly on improving the entire dynamic of traveling by highway, especially among the newer and smaller bus transportation companies. Many bus transport companies actually sell trip and tour packages with specific destinations along the route. These offerings have become very popular for those looking for a short enjoyable inexpensive vacation trip.

Safety

While air terminals are well documented as overly concerned with safety in the skies, bus lines are no less concerned with potential safety problems. Public bus stations in major cities are also notorious for attracting undesirable types, but many of the newer highway transit companies maintain small independent terminal that allow for greater control over customer safety both on the road and in the terminal. Bus line transportation is clearly on the business incline and are becoming more popular every day.

 

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