Hilary Foutes - Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s | Swampscott, MA Real Estate, Marblehead, MA Real Estate


Science fiction has long reveled in the concept of autonomous homes and transportation. But it wasn’t until very recently that these dreams started to edge their way into reality. With semi-autonomous vehicles on the manufacturing line and “home assistants” like Google Home flying off the shelves, today’s average homeowner now has options.

The growing number of home automation technologies is encouraging even more innovation in a burgeoning market. But, the newness of these devices and the confusion around what they actually do can make it difficult to decide which one to bring into your home.

In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to some of today’s most handy smart home devices to burden the workload of homeownership and give you some tips on which of the best technologies are yet to come.

Home assistants

One of the first smart home devices to hit the shelves was arguably the home assistant. They look like small Bluetooth speakers but have the ability to respond to your voice commands. So far, the front runners are the Google Home and Amazon Echo, but there are a number of other brands in the running as well.

Many of the tasks you use a smartphone for can also be easily accomplished with a home assistant. Tell it to set or turn off your alarms, look up things on Google, ask about the weather, play music, and so on. The Amazon Echo functions similarly but also integrates with other smart home systems so you can control things like your lights and coffee maker just by asking.

Integrated gadgets

Many home automation manufacturers have taken to selling kits that enable you to automate your home one outlet or device at a time. You can then control these devices with your smartphone, whether you’re at home or at the office. (Ever get worried you left the iron on? No more!)

The best part of these devices is how customizable they are and the fact that many integrate with assistants like Amazon Echo. However, some systems, like Samsung’s SmartThings, has its own central “hub” that connects your devices.

Smart home security

Security companies were one of the earliest adopters of automation. Today, many of the biggest home security companies (think ADT and Vivint) aren’t just making your home safer, they’re also making your life easier.

Common among these smart home security systems are things like cameras you can control with your smartphone from work, alerts from smoke and CO detectors, and door and window sensors to alert you if someone enters, or attempts to enter, your home.


These technologies are still evolving. That means each year newer, better devices will hit the market. However, this process of innovation will also drive down prices, which is good news for you as a homeowner and consumer. So, think about what your specific needs are and choose the products that fit them. And, if you’re not sure about any of the products on the market, don’t be afraid to hold off--the next best thing is right around the corner.


If you recently bought a house, you likely will need to purchase chairs, couches and other furniture for your residence. Luckily, we're here to help you streamline the process of discovering the right furniture, at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you find the right furniture for your residence.

1. Consider the Size of Your Home

Take close measurements of your house before you purchase any furniture – you'll be glad you did. Because if you fail to measure properly, you risk buying furniture that might not fit inside your house.

Also, it is important to account for the weight of furniture. If you consider the weight of furniture prior to purchase, you can ensure that you'll be able to carry this furniture into your house. Or, if you cannot lift furniture on your own, you can reach out to family members or friends for assistance.

2. Visit Several Furniture Stores

Dozens of furniture retailers are located in cities and towns nationwide. As such, if you shop around, you should have no trouble finding furniture that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Take a look at furniture from several furniture stores. That way, you can consider a variety of furniture for your kitchen, living room and other areas of your residence.

In addition, don't forget to ask a furniture store about delivery. If you can get a furniture store to bring benches, sofas and other furniture to your house, you won't have to worry about transporting these items to your residence.

3. Consider Pre-Owned Furniture

Sometimes, furniture stores will provide pre-owned furniture at a fraction of the cost of brand-new items. It often pays to check out pre-owned dining room sets, patio chairs and other furniture, as these items may help you furnish your house without breaking your budget.

It may be beneficial to search for furniture at yard sales too. These events may allow you to discover top-notch furniture at bargain-basement prices.

Furthermore, Craigslist and other online marketplaces can make it simple to assess myriad furniture options. And if you find furniture that you like, you can contact the seller and set up a date and time to evaluate it in-person.

Furniture shopping may prove to be time-consuming and costly, particularly for those who are already in the process of packing and moving to a new residence. Fortunately, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you may be able to speed up the process of finding deluxe furniture.

A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a terrific residence. He or she also can help you negotiate with a seller, and in some instances, may be able to convince a seller to include his or her furniture in a home transaction.

Take the guesswork out of furnishing your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring top-notch furniture that complements your personal style.


If you’re planning to stay in your home as you age, or "age in place", it’s wise to begin planning to renovate your home for your future self sooner rather than later. This will save you money and headaches down the road. I know it’s not an exciting topic of conversation to discuss aging and how to make your home more accessible. However, it’s certainly an important one. And even if you never use these features yourself, they are great to have in a home even if just for visitors, such as your parents.

Renovating before retirement ensures you have the cash flow to fund each change you make to your home. By making these changes now when you don’t need them, instead of as you go, allows you time to do research on best pricing and how to add features that will look seamless in your home. Just because you are “senior proofing” your home doesn’t mean it has to look like an assisted living facility.

The best, and arguably most important, place to start is in the bathroom. This is also a room that accommodations can double as accessible and chic. For example, a lipless walk-in shower, also known as the European Wet Room, eliminates the need to step up which can result in tripping. But it also opens up the room to appear more spacious and allow natural lighting to reach every corner. When renovating choose dimensions that leave enough room for a wheelchair to enter.

You may also want to consider adding a built-in shower bench. This could be a seamless tiled addition styled like a window seat or a chic wooden seat that folds up and out of the way. Grab bars don’t need to be an eyesore either. There are so many options on the market for bars that integrate with your bathroom’s style instead of looking like an afterthought.

When house hunting for a new home, look for one-level open floor plans. Open floor plans are very on trend and a feature many buyers are looking for anyways. They come with the added bonus of having plenty of room for someone in a wheelchair or walker to get around. If a home you are looking at has any hallways measure them to make sure they are wide enough to be accessible for these kinds of mobility aids.

Choosing a home that is a one-floor plan is another subtle way you can “senior proof” your home. Stairs can become troublesome when mobility becomes limited due to arthritis for example. A lack of a staircase to climb also means never having to buy a chairlift down the line. Potentially saving your future self-money and the integrity of your home’s decor.


In some instances, a home seller has limited time and resources to list his or her house and promote it to prospective buyers. Fortunately, there are many ways for a seller to make the most of his or her time and resources throughout the property selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a house seller get the most out of his or her time and resources.

1. Create a Plan

A home selling strategy can make a world of difference for any seller, at any time. Because if a seller knows what to expect after he or she lists a residence, this individual can plan accordingly.

As you put together a home selling strategy, think about your property selling goals. Then, you can determine the steps you'll need to take to achieve these goals – something that may help you streamline the house selling journey.

2. Learn About Your Target Audience

Consider the buyer's perspective – you'll be glad you did. If you understand why buyers may consider your residence, you can ensure your home listing hits the mark with them. And as a result, you could boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

Don't forget to analyze your home's strengths and weaknesses too. Oftentimes, it is beneficial for a seller to conduct a house inspection before he or she lists a residence. With an inspection report in hand, a seller can identify any underlying home problems and correct these issues before they can slow down a potential home sale.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you need help to sell your home, you can always hire a real estate agent. There are many qualified real estate agents available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do everything possible to ensure you can optimize your time and resources throughout the house selling journey.

A real estate agent understands the home selling journey varies from person to person. As such, he or she first will meet with you and find out why you are selling your residence. Next, a real estate agent will provide a personalized home selling strategy. A real estate agent then will promote your residence to prospective buyers, host home showings and open house events and much more.

Of course, if you receive an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent is ready to help you determine the best course of action as well. Performing an in-depth analysis of a homebuying proposal sometimes can be difficult, but a real estate agent is happy to help you make an informed home selling decision.

For those who are looking to achieve the best-possible results during the property selling journey, it generally is beneficial to explore ways to maximize your time and resources. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you'll be better equipped than ever before to use your time and resources to enjoy a quick, successful home selling experience.


Moving can be fun, stressful, or both. If you and your family are moving soon, your mind might be racing with all of the preparations you need to make before the big day.

The best course of action is to start organizing and planning now so that you can rest easy the night before your move knowing that everything is accounted for.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. We’ll talk about how to get the whole family involved in moving day, what to do with pets, and how to ensure the smoothest move possible so your family can look back on their first day in their new home with fond memories.

Getting organized

There are two key resources that you’ll need to make and refer back to as you prepare for moving day. You’ll need a calendar and a well-organised to-do list.

If you’re prone to depending on your smartphone, then it could be a good idea to add these items to your existing calendars and to-do list apps and sync them with your spouse and children. Most apps have this capability, making it easy to all stay on the same page.

Alternatively, you can use a physical calendar that it hung up in a highly visible area, such as on the refrigerator. Keep your to-do list next to it so you can cross off tasks as they’re accomplished.

On the calendar will be dates like calling your moving company for an appointment, closing on your new home, inspections, and confirming appointments with the movers and real estate agents. You’ll also want to pick a day close to your move to call and set up an appointment for utilities to be installed at your new home.

Getting the family involved

Every team needs a leader. If you’re leading your family through the moving process, it’s your responsibility to keep them in the loop. There may seem like an overwhelming number of tasks to achieve, but your family is there to help. Pick days to have your kids help you make boxes and pack the non-necessities.

You can make moving fun by “camping” inside your home for the last few nights. Since most of your belongings will be in boxes, it’s a fun excuse to set up a tent in the living room and take out the flashlights.

During the last day in your old house, make sure everyone has a survival kit filled with the items they’ll need when arriving at the new house. This includes toothbrushes, medication, phones and chargers, and other essentials.

Moving with pets

Moving can be even scarier for our pets than it is for us. There’s no way to explain to them what’s going on, and they’ll be looking to you for cues that everything is okay.

If you have a friend or relative who can take your pet to their home during the move it will make the moving process much easier--keeping track of a pet while you’re trying to carry boxes is no easy feat.

To ease your pet into their new home, take them to visit before the move if possible. Put some of their favorite toys or their bed and blanket in the new home so they’ll have some comforts for their first impression.


If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to a fun, and mostly stress-free move into your new home with your family.




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