Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/21/2018

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know AI (artificial intelligence) assistants are the new must-have tech gadget. They are quickly popping up in homes everywhere and making families lives so much easier.

Google Home with its Google Assistant has the deepest wealth of knowledge to pull from (ahem… Google Search) and can sync up with your existing Google account preferences. Which means you don’t have to worry about downloading extra apps, creating new accounts or recreating the content and information you already have elsewhere.  

To perform tasks Google Assistant uses pre-established “Home Commands” that trigger an action. To signal that you are speaking to the assistant you start your request with “Okay Google”. If you have an Android you might already be familiar with this process. Which is another tick on the pros column for Google Home for those who are keeping tally.

Get your itinerary by asking “Okay Google, what do I have planned next week” or “What do I have planned today”. Google Assistant will pull right from your Google Calendar and remind you of upcoming appointments, reminders, and events.

Set a timer when cooking by simply stating how long you need one to be set for. You can also set alarms by request. Change your morning alarm or set up daily reminders to take a medication or start dinner, for example.

Control your smart home devices with Google Home. The Assistant can raise or lower the temperature of your home if you have a smart thermostat. It can also turn lights and devices on or off to those hooked up to a smart outlet.

Of course, there is always the option to ask Google Assistant to play music, radio, podcasts or an audiobook. Perfect for to keep your mind busy during those deep cleaning days or when exercising at home.

Never forget anything again by asking the Assistant to remember things for you. It can be anything - to call your mother, pick up a birthday present to your nephew or know how long that sauce has been in the fridge. Then when you need to know you can simply ask for the Assistant to remind you.

Order pizza through Domino’s. Pizza on demand. Need I say more?

With face recognition capabilities Google Home hooked up with a smart doorbell can tell you who is at the door. The Nest Hello doorbell has a built-in camera to allow Google Assistant to recognize faces that you’ve configured it to remember.

Use IFTT, the automation app, If This Then That, to come up with your own commands. Use it to create commands that trigger an action of your choosing. You can add to your to-do list, iPhone calendar, and other apps. Ask for the Assistant to call your phone when it inevitably gets lost (probably between the couch cushions).




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/14/2018

Whether it's for your children or grandchildren starting a kid-friendly garden is a rewarding activity for everyone. It’s a great hobby to enjoy together and a wonderful learning experience for you both.

Start by sectioning off a piece of your yard or garden just for them. If you already have a garden or plan on starting one of your own this will allow your child to have a space of their own and protect your more advanced plants from their inexperience. They will love to have a corner for themselves! Allow them to do as they please here and decorate it as they wish.

When putting their garden together don’t make all the decisions for them. Allow them to pick out which plants to grow and/or where they will be planted. Help them choose from plants they are already familiar with or to create a themed garden such as a pizza, rainbow or alphabetical garden. Herbs and edible flowers make for an exciting sensory experience and make great additions to a child-friendly garden.

After choosing what to plant start with your seedlings indoors. Now is a great time to start educating them about the growing process, what to expect and what their role in helping their new plants grow will be. Visit the library together to check out some books all about gardening. Children’s educational books with lots of bright, colorful pictures and easy to read words will help them feel like this really is their project and responsibility to learn about.

If choosing potted plants take them with you and teach them the signs of a healthy plant. Allowing them to choose which plant to take home will create excitement and ownership over the gardening process.

Assign your child age-appropriate tasks for caring for their garden and assist them where needed. As much as it is their garden they will need your help to keep it alive and thriving. This could be planting the initial seedlings, weekly watering, or regular weeding. And be sure to include them when it comes time to harvest all of your hard work together!

Keep the learning process and excitement alive with activities to track the progress of their garden. Consider helping them start a plant journal where they can track color, growth or draw depictions of their plants. You could also keep a photo record of your child standing next to the plant each week to track its growth in a fun, visual way.

Gardening is an enriching, relaxing and educational pastime for adults and children alike. Spend quality time with your child by helping them start a garden of their very own, even if it's just a small corner of your own prized garden. Reap the rewards!





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/7/2018

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The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complex, particularly for an individual who fails to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to get ready to pursue your dream house, such as:

1. Make a Homebuying Budget

A homebuying budget will give you a good idea about how much money you have at your disposal to find your ideal residence. Thus, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can hone your house search to residences that fall within your price range.

As you craft a homebuying budget, you should consider both your house mortgage and closing costs. That way, you can prepare for myriad costs that you may encounter as you try to acquire your dream house.

You also may want to meet with various banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can help you budget for a home purchase. Perhaps best of all, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

2. Narrow Your Home Search

You know you want to purchase a house, but it usually is beneficial to understand what you want to find in your dream residence. If you put together a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Consider your short- and long-term aspirations prior to launching a home search. For instance, if you need a home that is close to your office in the city, you may want to check out residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a residence that includes a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, you should explore homes that offer this feature.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially for an individual who wants to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your dream residence.

Typically, a real estate agent learns about a buyer's goals and crafts a personalized homebuying strategy based on his or her aspirations. If you want to purchase a budget-friendly house as quickly as possible, for instance, a real estate agent will help you accomplish your goal. Conversely, if you are operating on a tight homebuying budget, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you find a first-rate house that won't put you in the red.

Let's not forget about the homebuying expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands all aspects of the homebuying journey and will share his or her industry insights with you. Therefore, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to them at your request.

Those who understand what to expect during the homebuying journey can boost the likelihood of finding a terrific house at an affordable price. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you could reap the benefits of a successful home search.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/30/2018

One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.

Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.

Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.

Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.

  • Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
  • Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
  • Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
There are literally dozens of features, characteristics, and quality standards to keep in mind when shopping for a new home, but location, structural condition, and style are three factors that are well worth including on your priority list.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/23/2018

Moving to a new home is both an exciting and stressful time. There’s nothing quite like a fresh start in a new place. It’s a blank canvas just waiting for you to make your mark. It’s just that there is also a lot of stuff to move! And for fish owners there comes the added complexity of how to move the carefully acclimated ecosystem of their aquatic pets.

While moving fish is not as simple as loading them into a carrier with their favorite blanket or toy it’s not an impossible task. And I’m sure you don’t need reminding how temperamental fish are to their environment. Because they are so easily upset I highly recommend setting a day aside dedicated solely to moving your aquarium. Ideally, your fish will spend as little time as possible outside of their familiar habitat.  

Before you begin disassembling your tank you’ll want to have the place you would like it to be located in your new home already picked out. This way you can have a plan of action to put into place as soon as you pull into the driveway. You’ll also want to make sure you have the proper supplies for moving your tank. 

Check in your local aquarium shop for advice on how to move your specific type of fish. You’ll also want to pick up some bags like those your fish are placed in when you first bring them home, a battery operated pump, a fish net, a few 5-gallon buckets with lids and a siphon hose if you don’t already own one. Be sure to bring home as many bags as fish you own. You’ll also want to pick up or borrow a cooler that would fit your bagged fish if you don’t have one. 

To preserve as much of the vital bacteria in your tank’s ecosystem you will want to siphon as most of your tank water into your new buckets along with your aquarium’s rocks and filter. Pumps, heaters and other tank accessories can be packed separately as normal. 

Your fish will be much easier to catch with less water and nowhere to hide. Gently catch your fish and place each one in its own individual bag filled ? of the way with water from the tank. You’ll want to place all of your fish in the cooler as the dark reduces stress and the insulation helps to prevent extreme temperature changes.  

When setting up your tank in your new home remember that you want to get your fish back in their familiar habitat as soon as possible. Start by adding the water and rocks from your buckets. You’ll want to hold off on setting up any complex decorations until your fish are in the tank and a few days to settle down. You’ll just want to add any live plants you may have and a place or two for your fish to hide.

Top off your tank with the appropriate type of water your fish and consider using a bacterial additive to support your fish's ecosystem as they adjust to the big move. Watch the readings on your water closely for the next month and do not add new fish until acclimated. You will also want to hold off on feeding until your water reaches proper levels. 

I'll be honest t’s not the simplest process to move with fish but it’s also not the most difficult. And if you’re a fish enthusiast it’s well worth the effort to keep your beautiful friends happy. With some proper planning and some help from your partner or a friend moving your fish can be a smooth, stress-free experience.







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