By Deborah Peterson and Lance Thompson
As the housing market remains somewhat difficult, making a home stand out from the rest is a necessity when trying to get it sold. More often than not, small changes to a homeÕs interior and exterior can drastically improve the resale value. Home automation and doÐit-yourself (DIY) landscape lighting are two ways to make easy and impactful home improvements without breaking the bank.
Home automation products are now available through mainstream retail outlets and are no longer only reserved for the rich and famous. These affordable devices allow users total remote control over everyday lighting and appliances. By using the Internet or a mobile phone, you can control household lights and appliances remotely from anywhere in the world. Even if your client is already living somewhere else, you can make the listing appear warm and inviting from afar. Compatibility is key amongst home automation devices, so it is important to remember to be consistent when choosing a wireless technology solution.
There are many home automation products on the market today, which can either be installed professionally or you can do it yourself, so it is important to identify the right solution as well as the budget before making any purchases. Below is a list of home automation options that can quickly help to increase the value of a home.
Garage door openers. Not only can potential buyers monitor whether or not a garage door is open, they can also open it from anywhere at any time, even if they are out of range from what might be their new home.
In-wall switches and dimmers. This is an easy way to automate lighting in the entire house. Installing in-wall switches and dimmers that can talk to the remote control allows a homeowner to set up scenes, such as automatically turning lights on or off at certain pre-set times.
Thermostats. Clients can control warming, cooling and other adjustments from anywhere. If you have a showing in an hour, you can warm up or cool down the home just in time to make it appear inviting to a potential client. A built-in clock and calendar automatically adjusts for summer and winter time changes. There are a variety of wireless enabled thermostats on the market so be sure to find one that suits the homeÕs needs.
Pool and spa controls. These products allow total and uninterrupted communication between the controller and the equipment, such as filter pumps, cleaner/booster pumps, pool lights and spa lights. Modules are capable of working independently or within a complete home automation system.
Window treatments. By installing motorized shades, homeowners now have the ability to control them from anywhere in the house by remote control. Users can even program the shades to raise or lower according to changing daylight conditions.
In addition to home automation, enhancing curb appeal with easy-to-install landscape lighting can be beneficial for those looking to differentiate a home from others on the market. DIY low-voltage landscape lighting has come a long way and is available in a variety of styles, materials and finishes that give a professional look without the high costs.
An attractively lit home and landscape is one of the best ways to impress prospective homebuyers, many of whom peruse neighborhoods during evening hours, which is also another way automatic lights can come in handy. Here are quick and easy steps to improving an outdoor area in ways that will make an available home seem that much more appealing:
Survey the area. Think about how you can extend the use of your outdoor living areas Ð entertaining, reading, eating, relaxing, etc. For instance, consider the type of lighting you might want around the deck, based on how it can be used. Or, consider architectural features or trees that would be nice to highlight.
Ensure compatibility. Outdoor lighting can be chosen to be compatible with the aesthetics of the home. For example, if the home features elements containing bronze or copper, consider lighting fixtures with bronze and copper finishes. Add these elements to the outdoor living areas for a seamless flow between the spaces.
Consider the details. Consider the items that will create just the right atmosphere in the outdoor living areas, such as fragrant flowers and herbs, chimes or a waterfall. When considering outdoor lighting, create a lighting plan to determine what uses of light will be most aesthetically pleasing, and will flatter the space. Consider these effects:
Downlighting – Creates safe passageways at night with lights directed downward onto surfaces below the light source. Lights can be used to outline driveways, mark garden paths and flower beds and accent patios and decks to give the home a safe and secure feeling.
Uplighting Ð Floodlights directed upward onto the underside of surfaces that are above the light source create dramatic patterns by playing light against shadows. Homeowners can use this application to create a focal point, highlight trees and shrubs or illuminate fountains and statues.
Backlighting Ð With this effect, light is directed onto a surface behind an object. This can help highlight architectural features behind large bushes, around doors and windows. With the use of this technique, one can accent trees and bushes, illuminate walls and fences and light up a homeÕs exterior for a beautiful and elegant look.
Deborah Peterson and Lance Thompson are home control and outdoor living experts with Intermatic Inc. For more information on DIY landscape lighting and home automation products, visit intermatic.com.