High-Tech Options for Homeowners
Powered by convenience, More and more homeowners are adding high-tech features to their homes for the latest in contemporary living. Which features are the most coveted? Here are three of the most popular trends.
Enhanced security. Traditional home security systems often come with lots of sensors and an external monitoring service. With these systems, not only do you have to make sure to arm and disarm your security features, you often have to pay a costly monthly bill to your provider. With new technology options, homeowners can take control of their own security. Most new security systems come with wireless cameras that can be accessed by the homeowner on their desktop or smartphone - from anywhere in the world!. It's an improvement that offers added peace of mind for a fraction of the lifetime cost.
Lighten up. LED lights are another great way for homeowners to add convenience and energy-saving technology to their home. Not only are these new bulbs extremely efficient, many companies have even created lighting control systems that allow a homeowner to control their lights directly from a smartphone. Now there's no need to argue about who left the light on or whose turn it is to get up to turn it off.
Control the kitchen. A number of appliance manufacturers have joined the wireless trend by providing apps that allow for wireless control. Need to get dinner started, but you're stuck in traffic? Why not start and pre-heat the oven right from your car! Another recently announced technology can even check the contents of the refrigerator while the homeowner is still at the grocery store.
Credit-Confused? You're Not Alone.
Most of us have trouble understanding the impact some actions may have on our credit scores. According to a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore Solutions, these are the facts that tripped up consumers the most:
• Marital status is NOT a factor in the calculation of your credit score. Almost half of survey respondents incorrectly believed that marital status played a role.
• A low credit score can increase the cost of a loan. Only one-fifth of survey participants knew this.
• Credit scores can be used in applications that are not related to being offered credit - for example, your utility company may factor in your credit score when requesting a deposit for service. Insurance companies and landlords also can use these scores when deciding to work with you. This was unknown by over half of those surveyed.
If you're worried about your credit score and how it could be impacting your finances, just follow these basic guidelines: make all loan payments consistently and on time, check your credit reports on a regular basis to make sure all of the information is accurate, and keep credit card balances low.
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