Welcome!
  •       Welcome to the Heidi in Houston’s web-blog. I am so excited to share some of my life experiences in the “space city” through this blog. Life can be hectic, but I will make every attempt to take time out of my busy schedule to share great photos and information of the places I visit, people I meet and organizations I connect with in our wonderful city. I will try to be unbiased, although, this will be a very difficult task to accomplish because Houston is a city that I absolutely love. It just seems very easy to […]

    About Heidi

          Welcome to the Heidi in Houston’s web-blog. I am so excited to share some of my life experiences in the “space city” through this blog. Life can be hectic, but I will make every attempt to take time out of my busy schedule to share great photos and information of the places I visit, people I meet and organizations I connect with in our wonderful city. I will try to be unbiased, although, this will be a very difficult task to accomplish because Houston is a city that I absolutely love. It just seems very easy to […]

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JUST LISTED: Meticulously Maintained home for sale in Lakes of Parkway!

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MLS# 48492631 

Home is also available as a lease (MLS#74170870)

 

To Schedule a showing please call 281-558-4114

 

Sincerely,

 

Exclusively listed by Dietrich Properties, Keeping it Personal(c)
A Lakes of Parkway Neighbor – Specializing in Lakes of Property and the Energy Corridor.

 

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Smart Homes: The Way of the Future or a Risk to Homeowners?

Glitches of early iterations aside, AI-based technology has come a long way, and has an increasingly active presence in the lives of homeowners who are looking for convenience and savings in a pushed-for-time era. From adaptive thermostats that automatically gauge energy usage and alter temperatures for optimal savings, to smart home speakers that use sophisticated artificial intelligence to provide services and information in real-time, a smart homeowner can now cross off a variety of menial tasks from their daily to-do list without doing more than speaking a phrase out loud or clicking a button on their mobile device.

What is the true cost of this convenience? Some gadget adopters are reporting invasion of privacy, security risks, and more. For those who have not yet invested in smart home technology, these factors are largely holding them back; in fact, it is the second-biggest reason for hesitation for 17 percent of non-users, behind price (42 percent), according to a recently released report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “Smart Home, Seamless Life: Unlocking a Culture of Convenience.” In addition, 56 percent of surveyed individuals stated they would choose encryption to protect their data when creating their own smart home.

What are these misuses of technology that could lead to privacy or security risks? These are a few of the reported instances thus far:

  1. Gadgets May Be Susceptible to Hacking
    Last August, Wired published a story about a British security researcher for MWR Labs, Mark Barnes, who was able to install malware on an Amazon Echo device, turning it into a surveillance device that silently streamed audio to his own server. While newer models cannot be jailbroken this way, Amazon has not released any software to fix the issue with older units.

For the typical owner, this may not seem like a significant violation; however, this could lead to another type of home theft in which fraudsters break into homes looking to steal identifying information via smart home gadgets, leaving little to no evidence of their break-in behind. While Barnes installed code for the specific purpose of audio streaming, he clarified that the installation of malware could serve other uses, such as stealing access to a homeowner’s Amazon account, installing ransomware or attacking parts of the network.

  1. Smart Technology Could Lead to Location-Based Tracking
    Earlier this month, security investigator Brian Krebs reported on a privacy vulnerability for both Google Home and Chromecast—found by Craig Young, a researcher with security firm Tripwire—that leaks accurate location information about its users.

According to Young, attackers can use these Google devices to send a link (which could be anything from a tweet to an advertisement) to the connected user; if the link is clicked and the page left opened for about a minute, the attacker is able to obtain a location.

“The difference between this and a basic IP geolocation is the level of precision,” Young said in the article. “For example, if I geo-locate my IP address right now, I get a location that is roughly two miles from my current location at work. For my home internet connection, the IP geo-location is only accurate to about three miles. With my attack demo, however, I’ve been consistently getting locations within about 10 meters [32 feet] of the device.”

Google initially told Young they would not be fixing the problem; however, after going to the press about the issue, Young reports that Google will be releasing an update in mid-July to address the privacy leak for both devices.

  1. Glitches Could Lead to Invasion of Privacy
    According to local news stations in Portland, Ore., a resident (reportedly named Danielle) received a disturbing phone call from one of her husband’s employers telling her to shut off her smart home devices. After using Amazon devices throughout her home to control temperature, lighting and security, Danielle was made aware that a private conversation was accidentally recorded by Amazon’s artificial intelligence system, Alexa, and was sent to a number on the family’s contact list.

Amazon has since reported that the Echo speaker picked up words in Danielle’s background conversations that it interpreted as “wake words” for recording and sending audio to a contact; however, an article published by website The Information last July states that Amazon was considering obtaining recorded conversations and sending transcripts to developers so they can build more responsive software, making it unclear if these devices automatically record audio without waiting for “wake words.”

These Vulnerabilities Could Impact Real Estate
Smart homes are increasing across the country. According to Statista, a statistics website, the estimated value of the North American smart home market will be $27 billion by 2021.

Of course, the vulnerabilities that have cropped up for some users could have an impact on the selling process. For example, some sellers have already begun using their security systems as a way to listen in on prospective buyers or watch them as they visit the listed home, regardless of whether local laws prohibit these recording practices.

Additionally, if homeowners have devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, but do not have security cameras, how can they be sure that visiting buyers are not accessing sensitive information through these speakers? While agents always play a role in adding a measure of security by being present during showings, fraudulent activity that is internet-based only, such as obtaining online data through links, will be difficult to identify.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Why You Really Don’t Have Enough Time

You may have decided to get into real estate so you could be your own boss, set up your own working hours and make a lot of money.

So, how’s that working for you?

The challenge with entrepreneurship is being laser-focused on dollar-productive activities. When you first get into the business, you need to learn the skills, implement systems, install new programs, deploy various platforms, study scripts, market and process transactions. That’s a full-time job, and you haven’t even begun to work with buyers and sellers.

But here’s where most agents fail: They get too busy working in the business and fail to work on their business.

By nature, our business is radically unpredictable. Buyers decide to buy, and sellers decide to sell on their own timetable—and we want to be there at that magic moment—but the intensity of showing buyers, servicing sellers and maintaining prospecting can be daunting unless you develop a plan to keep all the plates spinning and the income funnel full.

The plan is simple—but getting an agent to do it is the hard part.

No matter what’s happening, only you have the power to block your day. This begins with blocking out dollar-productive activities by using a My Perfect Week Planner.*

The system visually helps you lay out a perfect week so that you’re able to establish a rhythm of daily habits that result in regular, consistent income. Think of blocking your time using a traffic light as an example:

  • Red is for non-negotiable time. These hours are reserved for your personal “big rocks” like sleep, family time, etc.
  • Yellow is used to time-block a daily prospecting hour. I can imagine you rolling your eyes right about now, but prospecting is the key to getting paid regularly. Pretend that this is sacred time, even if it’s 15-30-minute increments five days a week, and stick to it. Whether you’re prospect-phobic or simply believe prospecting is limited to cold calls, think conversation, not solicitation. Rotate through your sphere of influence with scheduled calls to update contact information and to share a save-the-date for your future client appreciation party. These approaches are easy and friendly.
  • Green is the easiest time to block on your weekly calendar. These are appointments that are related to earning or receiving money, and are usually the most fun. Block in green the hours you’ve earmarked for closings, listing appointments or working with buyers.

The goal is to increase the green in your weekly calendar. You wouldn’t want to miss a closing, so why not block out a small increment of time to talk to more people in order to make more sales so you have more green in your week?

Sit down at the beginning of each week to plan. Real estate has plenty of opportunity for busy work that will rob you of energy and income, so take control of your week before the chaos hits so that you can do those activities that serve and pay you first. It’s also a good idea to get a good coach to help you learn new habits to plan for success, and hire out the administrative work so that you can focus on being the CEO, building your business every day, one day at a time.

*For a complimentary copy of My Perfect/Productive Week Scheduler, visit http://bit.ly/2raO1Dj

Terri Murphy is a communication engagement specialist, author, speaker and coach. She is the author/co-author of five books, and founder of MurphyOnRealEstate.com. Contact her at TerriMurphy.com or Terri@TerriMurphy.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Why You Really Don’t Have Enough Time appeared first on RISMedia.

Via: http://rismedia.com/2018/06/19/why-you-really-dont-have-enough-time/

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Bring Calm to the Chaos in Your Business

As the selling season continues to pick up, many agents find themselves busy and struggling to fit everything into their days. Although they’re grateful for the business, they worry that other important people and tasks are falling through the cracks. As a result, they may work long days in an effort to squeeze it all in and boost productivity, only to find themselves tired, frustrated and less productive. Here are some best practices for bringing calm to the chaos in your business…

  1. Prioritize
    When you have your priorities in place, you know where to spend your time. What are your priorities? On the business side, it could be to expand your database 25 percent or to surpass last year’s sales figures.

On the personal side, your priorities may be your children’s sports games or plays, a weekly lunch date with your spouse, a weekly morning meeting with a community group, or volunteering with a favorite organization. Your priorities are the things you don’t want to miss, no matter what. Pencil these in to your schedule before anything else.

  1. Organize
    Once your priorities are set, you can then organize everything else. Breaking the process into these four segments will allow you to regularly review your schedule so that you’re focusing on the things that are most important to you instead of becoming bogged down by less important tasks. This will help you become more productive, serve your clients better and honor your priorities.
  • Your year: Throughout the year, take out your calendar and pencil in your priorities—a family vacation, a long weekend, your children’s activities, industry workshops, client parties and other important days. Although nothing needs to be set in stone, including these things in your calendar will help you plan the rest of your year and ensure they don’t get overlooked.
  • Your month: Each month, review the priorities you’ve already accounted for on your annual calendar and add in other important activities that have come up since, such as workshops and seminars, holidays perfect for getting social with clients, etc.
  • Your week: At the beginning of the week, review what you have scheduled and include any important meetings, client lunches, etc.
  • Your day: In addition to making time for lead generation and your personal and business priorities, fill in the rest of your day accordingly. If you find yourself putting out a lot of fires, make time at the end of the day to handle all the unexpected challenges that arose during the day.
  1. Systemize
    A system will help you commit to both your priorities and your newly organized schedule. It provides a framework to follow so that you never have to wonder what you need to do each day to optimize your business. Over time, you’ll build the successful habits that are sure to cause your business to thrive. Remember to rely on a good CRM to help ensure you stick to the system and track your progress toward your goals.

Along the way, a is a valuable person to have in your corner as you try to calm the chaos. A good coach will provide an objective perspective on your business each step of the way; from helping you define your priorities to helping you organize your week. Additionally, they can help you pinpoint the aspects of your system that may prove the most beneficial to your business and help you achieve your goals within your desired timeframe. In short, a coach will help you reach your potential, optimize your productivity and build a thriving, successful business.

For more information, visit buffiniandcompany.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Bring Calm to the Chaos in Your Business appeared first on RISMedia.

Via: http://rismedia.com/2018/06/12/bring-calm-chaos-your-business/

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Staged to Sell: This Staged Home Sold for 107% Above Asking Price

Home stagers: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, real estate pros and owners of Ambiance Decorators LLC

The home: A single-family home located in Upper Montclair in Essex County, N.J. The home was staged by Amy and Katie, and sold for 107 percent of the asking price at $1,073,575. Amy and Katie sought to stage the home with a “fresh, updated, classic, and timeless” look.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

Stagers’ tips:

  • Curtains: Sheer curtains are great for softening windows and letting the light in. They do not compete with the design and are not too “style specific” so they are often processed as calming.
  • Plants: Plants are so important in design for color and texture. They also add interest by bringing the outdoors in.
  • Colors:Soft colors present a calming affect allowing buyers to view the room as relaxing and peaceful.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

Stagers’ tips:

  • Furniture: It’s often best to leave out the chairs at the head of the dining table…this prevents the back of the chair from stopping your eye in a photograph.
  • Accessories: A beautiful runner, arrangement of flowers and a few candles create a classic centerpiece.
  • Art: Art is the last item added to the design. We often add neutral art to complete the look of the room but not distract buyers from focus on the space.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

Stagers’ tips:

  • Accessories: Just a few accessories on the bookshelf will highlight the space without feeling overwhelming or cluttered.
  • Lighting: It’s always best to compliment the furniture arrangement with lighting. If there’s not enough space for end tables, floor lamps are a great option.
  • Furniture: A padded bench is a great option for a coffee table to add a little something different.

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

Via: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/StyledStagedSold/~3/GknVMKdTfk0/

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