Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 7/5/2017

Technology has streamlined our lives at work, at home, and during our leisure time. We're constantly updated with emails and notifications from our bosses or our friends about upcoming deadlines or family parties. However, many of us are still old fashioned when it comes to using tech to improve the way we run our homes. There are apps that can control the electronics in your home, remind you when it's time to clean out the refrigerator, or even tell the people in your house when it's their turn to take out the trash. We've built a list of the most useful apps that will help you spend less time planning and organizing around the home.

Smart house

Wifi technology is slowly escaping our cell phones and computers and making its way around our homes. Smart TVs are now the norm, and Amazon makes buttons that you can store in your cabinets that automatically order new paper towels or laundry detergent when you run out. Part of this home automation revolution is the introduction of apps that allow you to remotely control your home. Kits like SmartThings or WeMo allow you to control lights, coffeemakers, and garage doors all from your smartphone.  What's more, you can control them from work as long as you have signal on your phone. Many of these apps allow you to schedule items to turn on and off at certain times as well, which can help you save on electricity.

Apps to ease the moving process

If you've moved recently, maybe you used a checklist app on your phone to keep track of items while packing. What you probably didn't know is that there are apps that help you even further, including choosing the best prices on moving companies. Unpakt lets you add items that you're moving to a list and tells you how many boxes you'll need. Then it gives you a selection of movers and lets you compare prices.

Keeping up with the chores

The app stores are inundated with tools to help you stay on top of your schedule. But recent additions take it a step further to target other household needs. Do you run a tight ship at your house? Or would you like to? iRewardsChart lets you track your kids' progress on their chores and reward them for good behavior. You can award them cash allowance, time watching television, or whatever else you see as suitable rewards. If you and your family or housemates have a hard time keeping track of whose turn it is to wash dishes, check out Chorma. It's an iPhone app that let's you add chores and coordinate them with other people in your house. No more excuses for not knowing it was your turn!

Creating your dream home

The best home and living apps aren't just about chores and reminders. There are some great apps that are out there to help inspire you to personalize your home. Brightnest is an app that provides cleaning tips, recipes ideas, and DIY projects so your home can keep evolving as you do.  





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 11/25/2015

Everywhere you turn people are saying "go green". More and more people are looking for alternatives to heat and power their homes. One alternative is solar energy. There are both benefits and pitfalls to solar energy. The Benefits •Solar power is predictable. It is easy to predict how much electricity your system will produce because the amount of sunlight that hits your roof doesn't vary that much. This means it is also easy to predict how much you will save in electric bills. •Solar power will lower your electric bill. Solar power will offset the usage of conventional electricity especially in places where the price for grid power is high — like California, Hawaii and much of the northeast. •Solar power is safe and clean. Solar energy systems produce emissions-free electricity. •Installing solar panels may also help you qualify for a tax credit. For more information on energy tax credits click here. The Pitfalls •Solar power can be predictable but it is also variable. In other words, it can be predicted on a long term basis but not on a daily or even weekly basis. For example, solar panels won’t produce electricity at night. •Solar power can be a more expensive alternative in the short term. The price of solar panels continue to fall but there are many aggressive financing options. If your state has no tax incentives and electricity prices are relatively low solar would be an expensive option for you. •Some homes just don't work. The roof must be in good condition with an unobstructed southern exposure. If the house is surrounded by trees and tall buildings solar panels will probably not work. A ground-mounted system is an option only if you have sufficient space in your yard.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 3/20/2013

Energy costs can really take a toll on our monthly bills. But you can take control of these costs with a few simple steps. And to help out, programs like Mass Save (Masssave.com) and www.energystar.gov will help homeowners save even more. Did you know that even when you turn off appliances, such as your TV, they still use energy? With all the electronics in your house, the energy use can really add up in a year. A quick easy way to control these costs is to get an advanced power strip, where there are multiple plugs for electronics that need to always be on (i.e. your cable box) and those that don't (i.e. you TV). The power strip will automatically turn off those electronics that are in the "don't keep on" sockets when the electronic in the "master" socket is turned off. Mass Save estimates that you can save $30 annually by using one of these on your entertainment system. Mass Save and Energy Star has a variety of other ways to save on energy from product savings (on things like light bulbs and power strips) to rebates for buying energy savings appliances. You can also get a free home energy assessment to help you get started on improving your home's energy savings. And if you are low income, there are programs to help you save on costs even more. Each state has it's own energy savings programs, so even if you aren't from Massachusetts, there are resources available to you. Be sure you contact your state's energy department to find out more about ways to save.