High-Tech Home Design From CES 2019

Jan 10, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.

From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.

The Rollable TV

Photo Credit: LG

The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.

LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Not Just Any Wood

Photo Credit: Mui

That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $ 999.

Picture Frame and Wireless Charger

Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $ 80.)


A Smart Mirror

This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.


Mood lighting

Photo Credit: Philips Hue

Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.

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Using the Light Approach to Sell Your Home

Jan 3, 2019 by

You want house hunters to see the beauty of your home, and that can’t be done if your rooms are dark or poor lighting make them appear gloomy.

That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in some lighting when putting your home on the market, and creating a home with as much natural light coming in as possible. The right combo of natural night, lamps and other sources of light can really make a home stand out.

Start by looking at how much natural light you can get inside a room. Many people have drapes, shades and heavy curtains up, and while they may add to the aesthetic appeal of a room, opening them up and letting that light in can be even better. You might have light you didn’t even realize that could brighten a room. Don’t forget to clean your windows, as this will allow more light to come in.

A great thing about lighting is it can highlight aspects of your home you want to emphasize. For example, spotlight lamps will draw attention to fireplaces or paintings, while a beautiful chandelier in the dining room can showcase a large room for potential dining parties.

Dimmers are a good idea, as they can help create different moods in different rooms. When potential buyers come to your home when it’s darker outside, you can brighten up a living room so it’s bright and cheery, while dimming lights in a dining room to set a more romantic mood.

Not surprisingly, the kitchen and bathrooms are important rooms to properly light. To get things just right, add high-wattage bulbs in the kitchen, especially in cooking areas. Same with the bathroom—people want to be able to see in the morning when they are getting ready for work or school, so have great lighting in all of them.

You can’t have good lighting without nice fixtures, so make sure everything is clean and free of cracks. If they’re worn out or out of date, pay a visit to the local hardware store or lighting shop. Go with something simple because your taste in something elaborate or detailed may not match the taste of a potential buyer. Same with light switches—these can get worn out and stained after years of hands touching them. Make sure they’re clean and, if you need to, buy new ones.

Follow these tips and your home will be seen in the best possible light.

The post Using the Light Approach to Sell Your Home appeared first on RISMedia.


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4 Tips for Using Paint to Update a Home

Dec 13, 2018 by

Photo Credit: Clare

Painting a room can be a quick, transformative update for new homeowners to accomplish. Say your clients recently purchased a home and now they need a little design inspiration to bring it into all its glory. Paint is often the fastest and more transformative way to quickly update a space. Interior decorator Nicole Gibbons, who become known as the “paint maven” with her own brand, Clare, has four tips for using color to update a room. Here are a few of her insider tips:

Photo credit: Clare

  • Pare down your color choices.Research shows that it typically takes an average of four months to choose paint color, which is an unsettling statistic for Gibbons. Tell your clients to focus on a more narrow, curated palette from the get-go, which will help them to not become overwhelmed.
  • Try the color on. Peel and stick color samples are a great way to try out a color without the mess of mini cans of paint and partially painted walls.
  • Shine a light on it. View potential paint color at different times of day, Gibbons recommends, and in different artificial lighting to get the full impact of the color.
  • Don’t forget the primer.“Think of primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job,” Gibbons writes. It covers imperfections, creates a uniform surface, and neutralized the color so the paint your client chooses appears in its truest, most brilliant form. Two coats may be needed if you’re toning down a higher-gloss paint finish in a switch to matte, or if you’re going from a darker to a lighter hue.

Source: Nicole Gibbons,

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Is It a Second Home or an Investment?

Nov 21, 2018 by

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

Is every second home an investment? The distinction between a second home purchased as a vacation retreat or as an investment can sometimes blur, and intended uses overlap. About a quarter of vacation-home buyers expect to rent their properties and close to a third view the purchase as a good investment opportunity. On the flip side, a similar number of investors intend to use their investment properties as a vacation retreat for family.

In addition to overlapping intentions, buyers’ uses of properties may change as they progress through life stages. For example, during the years when a buyer is working or raising a family, a vacation property may be used for only a couple of weeks out of the year and rented the rest of the time. When buyers reach retirement age, they convert the investment properties to retirement residences.

What does this mean for the real estate practitioner? In popular resort areas, a second-homebuyer’s interest is seldom strictly investment or vacation. Although one viewpoint will probably outweigh the other, both family enjoyment and investment potential influences the purchase. A buyer may express an initial interest in a vacation property, but the practitioner must be able to help the buyer evaluate the investment value of properties, too.

Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) provides investment analysis tools that help second-homebuyers make informed choices, especially when potential rental income is a decision factor.

RPR’s Valuate® is a web-based financial analysis and marketing tool for the purchase and sale of commercial and residential investment properties. Valuate allows real estate practitioners to perform real-time, interactive investment analyses in a collaborative work environment—one that leads to more insightful, impactful and efficient conversations with prospects and clients. Its analyses can be exported to an Excel® spreadsheet to fine-tune the data and try out various scenarios. For a quick demo of Valuate, check out this video. Learn more about RPR tools at RPR Blog.

To celebrate NAR’s Designation Awareness Month, during the month of November, all online designation and certification courses offered in the online format through the Center for REALTOR® Development at its onlinelearning.REALTOR site are 20% off their regular price. For more information about Designation Awareness Month, see this link.

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

For more information, visit

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

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Denim Design: The Jean-Look Is Hitting Home Decor

Nov 12, 2018 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you thought jeans were just for wearing, you are mistaken. Denim is becoming a hot fabric in home décor. We’re seeing denim sofa coverings, pillows, table runners, ottomans, rugs and bedding.

Denim is being lumped into a bigger trend of using more “utility fabrics” in home décor. Besides denim, those trending utility fabrics also include burlap, grain sacks, and drop cloths. All of these are heavier fabrics but they can add texture in designing your space. Another bonus: These utility fabrics are known for being less expensive and durable. That helps make denim great for rugs, sofas, or even a kid or teens’ bedroom. Denim wears and washes well so it can also be a great choice for high-traffic areas of the home.


Blue is really taking off as the “it” color in home design this year, and obviously blue denim fits right into that. A more mainstream use of the jean trend may come from denim-inspired blue paint finishes on furnishings or on kitchen or bathroom cabinets.


Can denim make a lasting enough impression on home decor to stick around? It’s a heavy fabric and it doesn’t exactly give off a cozy vibe. But in some areas of home design, it may very well find a niche.

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