Smart Home Ideas that Work

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How awesome would it be to be able to hold the majority of your home’s necessary functions in the palm of your hand? Would you like to be able to automate some of those tedious tasks that are part of your daily routine? With the progressive technology of today, the time for the Smart Home is now. We are talking about moving into the future with more control over your home than was possible only a few years ago.

You might wonder what a smart home looks like. A smart home is not all about crazy gadgets. It’s all about creating a single operating system that helps you control your home with ease and at your convenience. What is nice, is that you do not even need to be in the comfort of your home to stay in control. Using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can actually take control on the go.

This includes the control of your home’s features in real time which saves you a whole lot of effort. From the devices, you can get access to information on security, visually see who is at your door, peek in on the kids, track the rate of energy consumption in your home and much more.

TOP 8 Smart Home Features:

The following are some of the smart devices to include in your home:

1. Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats help you to regulate the temperature at your home. The days of forgetting to turn off your heater or air conditioner are over. These thermostats detect your daily heating and cooling routines as well. You can even adjust the temperature to your rooms independently using voice commands.

2. Smart Home Security Cameras

This is one of our personal favorites. By using smart security cameras, you can monitor your home at all times from your cell phone or other devices. This means that besides being a great security feature, you can even peak in on the kids when you are not home. Not to mention, many of these cameras have 2-way communications with little to no delay time, so you can actually talk and listen to people while looking at them from a remote location. Smart cameras also have a “push” notification setting which will allow you to get instant notifications when any movement has been detected. You can also get access to video feeds from previous days store in the cloud for future use.

3. Smart Door Locks

Smart door locks are another security feature you do not want to go without. Bluetooth sensors make it possible for the door to unlock whenever a person with an authorized smartphone approaches the door. You will never have to fiddle with trying to get your keys out of your pocket to unlock the door with your hands full of groceries again. You can also control the doors at your home independently from anywhere you are. This feature is great when your kids forget their phone or keys on their way to school or when you have unexpected visitors that you want to let in.

4. Smart Doorbell

Let’s be honest, your phone is usually in your hand, pocket, or nearby. That is why the smart doorbell makes sense. This smart home option will help to save you from the pain of stopping what you are doing or getting out of bed to see who is knocking at the door. When someone stops by, you will get the feed through your phone via the connected doorbell. This will allow you to see and speak to the visitor using two-way audio.

Smart Home Devices to Automate Your Home

Here are the top smart home devices you can use to automate some of the items on your to-do list. They will conveniently make your busy life a bit less busy and they will definitely make some mundane household chores easier.

5. Smart Vacuum

The smart vacuum cleaner does its job very well. It automatically vacuums the floor when you activate it remotely. Again, you do not have to be home as it can be activated from anywhere you are. With a strong Wi-Fi connection, it can work in multiple rooms, but the best feature of all is that you can schedule it to run automatically. Set the schedule and let it get things cleaned up on its own. Once it’s done, it will even connect itself back onto its charging port to be ready to tackle its next clean up.

6. Smart Lawn Mower

Much like the smart vacuum, smart lawn mowers are automatic, and you can control them to from where you are. With the latest smart home technology set the schedule and let your lawn mower go to work for you. This smart device will get the job done and you won’t even have to break a sweat. Although, unfortunately, you will still have to lift a finger.

7. Smart Dishwasher

This smart home appliance has enhanced features such as Wi-Fi and voice controls which are enabled by controls from a smartphone or tablet. The smart dishwasher outweighs a standard dishwasher because the number one benefit is you can schedule run times. Just load in dirty dishes set it and forget it. This way you can have it run when you are not home to hear the sound of dishes washing. Plus, you can easily make sure that you are not running washes during your providers’ peak energy usage times. This will enable you to keep your monthly water and power bills lower.

8. Smart Washing Machine

You can operate a smart washing machine from anywhere at any time. Once you have the smart washing machine app on your smartphone. You can control it remotely, so many of the conveniences of the smart dishwasher will apply.

There are many other smart features you may want to add to your home when converting it to a smart home. Things like smart blinds, a smart TV, other entertainment features, and more – but with our top 8 smart home ideas that work, you will be taking a step into the future of full control and an easier life.

If you would like any information about Anacortes or any other questions, please contact us: (360) 899 – 5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

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Title Insurance

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What is Title Insurance?

The purchase of a home is often the single largest investment people will make in a lifetime: therefore, the importance of fully protecting such an investment cannot be overstressed. Title insurance is protection which assures that the rights and interest to the property are as expected, that the transfer of ownership is smoothly completed and that the new owner receives protection from future claims against the property. It is the most effective, most accepted and least experience way to protect property ownership rights.

Because land endures over generations, many people may develop rights and claims to a particular property. The current owner’s rights — which often involve family and heirs — may be obscure. There may be other parties (such as government agencies, public utilities, lenders or private contractors) who also have “rights” to the property. These interests limit the “title” of any buyer.

Why Do You Need a Title Insurance Policy?

If title insurance companies work to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in the title before the closing, why do you need a title insurance policy? The title of the property could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which are considered hidden risks — “those matters, rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and, therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records.” Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of “hidden risks” which could provide a basis for a claim after the property has been purchased.

Title insurance isn’t just for a homeowner. Subdividers need it when planning a new tract of homes or a commercial strip center. Attorneys use it for clients who are investing in shopping centers hotels, office buildings, and countless other projects. Builders need it in order to obtain construction loans from their lender. Everyone wants to have peace of mind when investing their hard-earned money. The title insurance company will help protect these important investments, no matter how large or small, with its own reputation and financial strength.

Why Does the Lender Need a Policy on My Property?

For the lender, a title policy is a guarantee that it has a valid and enforceable lien (loan or deed of trust) secured by the property, that no one else other than those listed on the policy has a prior claim (or loan, etc.) and that the party to whom they are making the loan does own the property being used as security for the loan. This protection remains in effect as long as the loan remains unpaid.

The existence of a lender’s title policy encourages lenders such as banks, savings and loan associations, commercial banks, life insurance companies, etc., to loan money. Because they are lending other people’s money (savings or policy holder’s funds), they must be concerned with safety should the borrower not make their payments. The title company ensures that the title to the property is marketable in the event of foreclosure and the guarantee is backed by the integrity and solvency of the title company. Of course, this benefits everyone — from the single-family homeowner to the owner of a high-rise building.

If you would like any information about Anacortes or any other questions, please contact us: (360) 899 – 5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

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When We Get an Offer on Your Home

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Getting you the best price is critical, but there are other components of an offer that are important to consider before accepting an offer. We will review each of these components:

1. If the offer subject to financing? If so, what is the length of time and is the buyer prequalified? What percentage are they going to put down? What is the source of the down payment? Are they asking you to pay any of their closing costs? What kind of loan is it? Is it a local lender, an out of the area lender, or an online lender? It makes a difference!

2. Is the offer subject to the buyers obtaining insurance on the home? If so, in what timeframe?

3. Is the offer subject to inspection? If so, what do they intend to have inspected and in what timeframe? Do they want the septic inspection prior to or after the inspection contingency?

4. What is the closing rate? Does that work for you?

5. How much is the earnest money? What is the remedy if the buyer defaults? When can it be disbursed?

6. Is the possession date the same as the closing date? Do you know why it is not always in your best interest to have a possession date later than a closing date?

7. Are they asking for any personal property to be included? appliances?

Every offer and every transaction is as unique as each seller so the Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC  team will review every detail to make sure it is the BEST offer. Then, we will monitor each minute detail to make sure the transaction goes smoothly for you!

If you have any more questions about getting an offer for your home, please contact us : (360) 899-5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC

3 Things to Do Now If You Want to Buy a House This Year

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1. Save as much money as you can. Cut out the small things that add up like Starbucks coffee or getting gas where is convenient rather than the most economical location.

2. Go see a local Lender. They will pull your credit score and let you know exactly what to do if you have to improve your score. They will also let you know how much your house payment will be at different price points so you can determine the price range of your future home. The lender will also instruct you on the mortgage process of purchasing a home.

3. Select Your Realtor® Now. If you are watching Zillow or another secondary real estate site, you are not getting timely accurate information about homes for sale. Your realtor will send your listing of a home for sale immediately when the home is listed and also, notify you when homes in your price range get an accepted offer. This helps you learn the value and the demand of homes for sale. Starting this process of house hunting online will assist you greatly when you actually go to look at homes for sale.

Even if you are not ready to purchase a home, we are happy to provide you with listing deals as well as real estate market updates.

Just click here to sign up for listing alerts.

Just click here to subscribe to our real estate blog with provided information on community events.

If you have any other questions about buying a home, please contact us : (360) 899 – 5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC

Whidbey Island: Washington’s Largest Island

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Deception Pass Bridge, a National Historic Monument since 1982, is actually two spans that link Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) over Canoe Pass and Deception Pass. The bridge is one of the scenic wonders and destinations of the Pacific Northwest.

With a population of nearly 72,000 people, Whidbey Island is the largest island in Washington State, sitting between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. Whidbey is home to the cities and towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langley, Freeland, Greenbank, Clinton, and Bayview; all of which fit snugly into Island County.

Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island’s largest incorporated city and home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Named for the Garry Oak trees which grace its skyline, the city’s growth coincided with two major events: the building of Deception Pass Bridge on July 31, 1935, and the completion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on September 21, 1942.

Whidbey Island’s popularity stems from the amazing views of Puget Sound and the plethora of tourist activities available. Explore the waters of Puget Sound on a scuba diving adventure, glide across the sea in silence on a kayak trip to visit the orca and gray whales, sea lions and seals, starfish and crab, and eagles and the porpoises!

For thousands of years, the only people who occupied Whidbey Island were the four Pacific Northwest Indian Tribes. In the spring of 1792, Captain George Vancouver explored the area and named every mountain, island, and waterway he could find. Whidbey Island was named on June 10, 1792 after Joseph Whidbey who proved it was an island when he discovered Deception Pass.

Aside from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the island has a strong military history. In 1890, the construction of Fort Casey began. The three-fort defense system was built by the US Army to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. Along with this fort, Fort Flagler and Fort Worden, which are located on the Olympic Peninsula, make up the “Triangle of Fire.” Twenty years after Fort Casey was built, it became the fourth largest military post and was no doubt the most beautiful. Fort Casey is open to the public, allowing visitors to climb on the ladders to inspect the guns, walk along bluff-side bunkers, and through the dark tunnels of the past.

Located in Old Town Anacortes, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is happy to assist with all of your real estate needs throughout Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. Please contact us daily at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

6 Home Inspection Myths

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Many real estate deals are dependent on a home inspection, so it is common that inspections cause a lot of anxiety for a buyer.  Here are some of the top myths surrounding home inspections that may help buyers adjust their expectations:

Having a license ensures a good home inspection – NOT TRUE

Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed, so make sure to check on the requirements in your state, in addition to other components of the inspector’s credentials, such as past clients, years of experience and customer reviews.

You can use a home inspection to identify problems that might be used as a tool to negotiate purchase price – NOT SO TRUE

While this is not the primary objective of a home inspection and the inspector is an unbiased, third party opinion, they inform buyers and sellers with an understanding of the physical condition of the home so the best decision can be made.

A home inspection tells you what your home is worth – NOT TRUE

An appraisal is intended to do this, not an inspection.

All home inspection certifications and professional education are created equal – NOT TRUE

Some programs are online certifications only without ever stepping into a home to conduct a real inspection.  The best certification offers both in-class and hands-on training, in addition to exam requirements.

Home inspections are not needed for newly built homes or condos – NOT TRUE

No home is perfectly built and its best to have an inspector pinpoint potential issues or future repairs.  Most inspectors can also give inspections during each construction “phase” of the property during development.

Home inspections are solely used on the buyer’s side – NOT TRUE

Although most inspections are performed for buyers, there are many advantages to a pre-listing inspection for sellers – including knowing about major issues before the house is listed for sale, which increases negotiating power to get the best sale price.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St.  We proudly serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond and are available daily to assist with all of your real estate needs.  Whether buying or selling, please contact at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Anacortes Community Profile

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Anacortes has the enviable reputation as the playground of the Pacific Northwest. Despite its miles of waterfront and forested trails, mountaintop vistas, festivals, charming shops and restaurants, a welcoming community and easy access to adventure beyond, Anacortes remains one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Anacortes lies equidistant between Seattle, Washington, to the south, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to the north—each about 80 miles away. Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes hosts the Washington State Ferries terminal, making it easy to get away for an afternoon or an extended stay to the San Juan Islands or Victoria, B.C.  Although Anacortes boasts all the assets of an island community, residents enjoy the ease and convenience of being connected to the mainland and neighboring Whidbey Island by three picturesque bridges—including the famed Deception Pass Bridge.

Natural attractions include pristine lakes, world class waterways, great scenic vistas, tide pools and beaches, abundant wildlife, and more than 2,800 acres of public forestland. There are also seven local marinas making Anacortes the boating capital of the Pacific Northwest.  Many Anacortes home buyers are first attracted to Anacortes because of the natural beauty of Fidalgo Island, and as they spend more time here they decide they want to purchase Anacortes real estate and make Anacortes their home.

Abundant recreational activities for all ages include boating, whale watching, hiking, kayaking, golf, biking, beach combing, and much more.

Local culture can be found at Anacortes art galleries, language clubs, numerous daily music venues, a three-screen movie theatre, delightful restaurants, and more.

Several major events mark Fidalgo Island community’s annual activities calendar: Waterfront Festival (May), Fourth of July Parade (July), Anacortes Arts Festival (August), Jazz Festival (September), and the Holiday Boat Parade (December). Each, in its own way, reminds us that, while very much connected to the present, Anacortes remains an appealing connection to a slower, simpler way of living.

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC knows Anacortes! Contact us today for more information and for all of your real estate needs. We can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners

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Not necessarily planning to move in 2018 but need to change things up? Here are some ways you can make your home feel a little bit newer and easy to maintain:

Make an extra mortgage payment – If you want to own your home faster and save money in the process, make just one extra mortgage payment each year and you’ll shave years off the term of your loan and save thousands of dollars in interest.

Refinance your mortgage – Even though interest rates vary, sometimes refinancing may be in your best interest to lower your monthly payment.

Draft a home maintenance plan – To ensure your house gets the love it deserves, draw up a list of the annual maintenance chores your home requires then come up with a plan to handle one or two each month.

Make your home safe – Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test their batteries regularly, in addition to checking your home for radon (a colorless and odorless gas) and be sure your home has proper ventilation.

Clear the clutter – Overwhelmed with all the stuff in your home? Getting organized and donating items you no longer use will go a long way in giving you and your home a fresh start in the new year.

For all of your real estate needs or with any questions, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is available daily and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  The Team Groesbeck office is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St. and we proudly serve Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, and the counties of Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom and beyond.  We look forward to working for you in 2018!

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Sellers

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Planning to sell in 2018? Here are some things to prepare you for getting your home ready to list:

Get a home inspection – Many buyers who make an offer will get a home inspection to determine the condition of your house, and then use that knowledge to negotiate pre-close repairs or a lower price.  Be proactive and get your own inspection so you can remove or address issues that may be obstacles to selling your house.

Appeal to mobile and online buyers – Most home searches today begin online.  Hire an internet-savvy broker, like Team Groesbeck, to ensure your listing is optimized for web viewing and mobile apps.  Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will also ensure professional photos and marketing will get your home noticed.

Make a good first impression – Fix things around the house that don’t work, touch up paint, update landscaping, depersonalize, deep clean, and consider hiring a stager.  Team Groesbeck even offers staging services to our clients to give your home a professional touch!

Be realistic – Educate yourself about your local real estate market and have realistic expectations of your home’s worth.  Your broker will price your home accordingly based on this information as well as comparable properties.

Treat your home like an investment – Be sure you are ready to sell before you list your home.  Moving can be a sentimental and emotional journey, so be prepared for potential buyers to look at your home and make an offer!

With any questions or for your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Anacortes daily at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Check our blog tomorrow for New Year’s resolutions for home owners!

New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers

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A new year means new possibilities!  Thinking of buying a new home this year?  Here are some things you may consider to assist with making it happen:

Get your finances in order – You’ll need good credit to get a mortgage, so knowing your credit score will ensure you getting a good rate.  If you know your credit score needs improvement in advance, you can make the necessary steps to improve it ahead of time.

Gather your paperwork – Keep documents handy that you’ll need for your home loans, such as W2s, tax returns, credit report, pay stubs, bank account statements, etc.

Research mortgage options – Shop around for the best loans with the best terms.  Talk to multiple lenders because all have different terms.  Find out if you are eligible for any state or local home buyer programs, etc.

Get pre-approved – Not only does having a pre-approval letter from your lender indicate how much mortgage money you qualify for, it makes it easier to shop for homes within your price range and strengthens your position as a buyer for your offer being accepted.

Work with professionals – Rely on a qualified, experienced broker to help you find the home you desire. The team at Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Old Town Anacortes is full-time, professional real estate brokers who are available daily to work for you.  Contact us for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County and beyond today!

Check back tomorrow for our blog about New Year’s resolutions for sellers!