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Hudson County Area Insight

  • Over the years, I have listed and shown homes throughout Hudson County. Some of them were built as early as the late 1800's. These are beautiful homes, most lovingly updated with today's modern conveniences, while keeping some of the old world charm.

    If you are thinking of selling and want to appeal to a broader base of buyers, or if you just want to brag about your home's IQ, you may want to consider a small investment in return for a big bang for your buck. For an initial investment of $250 - $1,000 you can turn your home into a smart home and enjoy the features in the meantime. These features may also help with showing your home.

    This initial investment may pay for itself with utility bill savings, as many of the devices are Energy Star rated. You should also check into rebates available for some products and don't forget to check with your accountant for possible tax advantages or energy credits. As savings increase and you become comfortable with the technology, you can reinvest savings into additional devices or opt to let a new buyer add to the system as desired. The payoff is also a smarter, more energy efficient and safer home.

    Usually only one HUB - ($69-$99), is required for as many devices as you'd like to add. Set up is an easy DIY project and should take just minutes. Once you are connected, you can control the devices from an app on your smartphone or with voice commands. Here are some examples of what it can help with:

    Thermostat: ($250) learns to program itself; saves energy; lets you track energy use and savings; comes in colors to match your home decor.
    Video Doorbell: ($200) lets you see and speak to visitors from your phone
    SMOKE & CO Alarm: ($100) wired or battery options; your phone alerts you to any problem; burned dinner? You can silence the alarm on your phone, rather than fanning with your dishtowel.
    Camera: ($150) see your home away from home
    Motion Sensor: ($40) sends alert to your phone when motion is detected
    Outlets: ($40) control lights or small appliances from anywhere
    2 Lightbulbs: ($70) automatic lights; voice or smartphone control
    Samsung Smartthings Starter Kit: ($249) includes a HUB, 2 sensors, a motion sensor and an outlet

    You can mix and match any of the above devices, depending on your budget or take it even further if you'd like to control window treatments, garage door, sprinklers and more. You can check videos and products at wink.com, nest.com, smarthings.com, GE.com and zigbee.com. Some are compatible with brands such as Schlage, Bose, Samsung, Honeywell, First Alert, and more.

    So, do you usually forget to turn the thermostat down when you run out? leave the lights on or iron plugged in? You can control them from anywhere. Do you want to know as soon as a dishwasher leak is detected? Get an alert that let's you know. Why not look into raising your older home's IQ and make it a Smart Home!
  • Here are some tips for handling television access in Hudson County. Rising cable bills, as high as $200+ a month, can make you wonder if it's time to cut the cord? I recently tested the waters myself and have now cut the cord - no more $245 monthly cable bill for me!

    First, you need to note what channels/shows/sports you want to watch. Since we are close to New York City, we can get basic channels, 2,4,5,7,9,11 & 13 with a Mohu antenna. The cost of the Mohu starts at $20 and its yours! I was able to get all the channels above with a Mohu mini in addition to about 50 other channels, including Cozzi, Decades, Ion, Telemundo and more with no monthly fee.

    Second, I bought a Roku for $30 (and again, it's yours) and was able to get additional channels such as, ESPN, HGTV, TBS, and more, again with no monthly fee. There is also a Firestick, Amazon TV, Playstation Vue and more, although I did not give them a test run.
    Available through the Roku was a Sling TV 7 day free trial, starting at $20 per month with a discount for Tmobile customers at $14 per month for the first 12 months. I used the free trial while I still had cable, just to make sure I could get all the channels and shows I wanted to watch. There are many other APPS available, but do your research.

    There was also a Hulu, two month free trial available on the Roku which I am currently testing through March, thereafter it would be $7 per month. I will probably not add Hulu, but will use the trial period. To be clear, with the Roku, Firestick or other devices, you need WiFi. So I have Wifi service at $50 per month. I need the Wifi anyway for laptop and other devices. Both the Mohu and Roku took about five minutes each to plug into the tv. This all ended up being a $181 per month savings for me ($2,172 a year)! I would rather use this "found money" on a vacation.

    So, if you live in Hudson County, save yourself some money! Do your research on each of the available devices. Determine which channels you can view for free on each, do your test run and free trials while you still have the comfort of cable and maybe you can cut the cord too!
  • Ask a Local Expert a question about Hudson County.
    Hudson County, NJ
    Come out to Hudson County Earth Day Celebration on Saturday April 25, 2015. A good time is always had by all. The race starts at 10:00 am and the Fair runs through 4:00 pm.

    This winter has been rough on all of us. Take a day off with the family to enjoy our State Park. You can extend the day by taking the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Island. Get more information about Liberty State Park here -http://www.libertylandingferry.com/directions-and-parking.aspx

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