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Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Trick-or-Treat Home Safety

by Mary Gilbert


In just a few days the streets of your neighborhood will be filled with children, and some parents, who will be costumed and carrying bags and buckets for Halloween treats!  Since many homeowners don’t regularly use the front entrance to their home, they may 
not think about all the little feet that will be tramping up the path to your door.  Make sure everyone has a safe trip for their candy by following these tips before October 31! 

 

  • - Do your own walk-up to your front door, and examine everything, including the driveway and front steps.  Make sure there are no loose pieces or large cracks that can cause anyone to take a tumble.  Porch railings should be secure.
     

  • - Yard decor should be fixed securely so the wind can’t blow it over, or curious little hands cannot pull it down.
     

  • - Battery-operated LED tea lights are inexpensive and much safer to use in place of lighted candles.  Many options are available for LED’s, including a flickering light that is perfect for your jack o’ lantern. 
     

  • - Speaking of lights, make sure that not only is your porch light switched on, but that the path you’ve created is well-lit. 
     

  • - Decor that hangs from the trees is scary and fun, so make certain they are hanging at least ten feet from the walkway, making certain they don’t obstruct anyone’s view. 
     

  • - Take an afternoon close to Halloween to be sure any shrubbery, trees or edging isn’t in the way of where trick-or-treaters must walk.  Inspect for loose branches in nearby trees and remove them. 

  • If you have room in the garage, consider parking the car there.  The folks that are coming and going would likely appreciate the extra room to pass others. 
     

  • - A constantly-ringing doorbell or persistent knocking can cause your pets some distress and a lot of barking.  Confine them to a room, or even better, to their crate.  Check out these other great tips about your pets and Halloween from the ASPCA. 


Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

Photo credit: wisconsinrapidstribune.com

Deliveries, Security and You

by Mary Gilbert


In our modern always-connected world, it seems like we’re always having packages dropped off from one re-tailer or another. If you receive packages regularly while you’re not home, though, you may be setting yourself up for problems. Packages left alone on your porch invite thieves to come up and take them, and if there are regularly people coming to your property to drop deliveries off then your neighbors might not think that it’s strange when one more person walks up with a box… even if it turns out to be a burglar with the foresight to throw on a brown shirt and carry a package.

 

So how can you make sure that your package deliveries aren’t creating a big risk for you? There are a few ways.
 

Establish a Delivery Area

When placing orders online, you often have the option to provide instructions to delivery drivers to make sure that your packages are delivered correctly. If you’re concerned about how frequent deliveries affect your home security, you can use these instructions as a powerful tool to thwart would-be thieves. Set up a delivery area around your home that’s covered or otherwise protected but not directly adjacent to your home and leave instructions for drivers to place any packages there. If possible, place the delivery space in an area that is clearly visible from neighboring houses as well. Because this designated area stands on its own, anyone entering it to try and steal packages will be very visible. It also foils would-be burglars because they now have no convenient excuse to approach your house.
 

Set Up Security Cameras

One thing that you can do to keep both your home and your packages safe is to install security cameras around your front door. This will allow you to see who’s coming to your house and will also provide evidence in case a burglar or thief approaches. If someone comes on your porch and steals your packages, you’ll have video of the thief and you’ll have proof that a theft took place so you can file a claim with the shipping company or retailer. You can even put cameras in an external delivery area if you’ve set one up! Make sure that you purchase a high-quality camera, though; cheap security cameras provide grainy and washed out footage that makes it very difficult to identify a perpetrator.
 

Invest in Smart Monitors

If you’re worried that a burglar might dress as a delivery person to gain access to your property, consider installing smart monitors on your windows and doors. These monitors may or may not be part of an alarm system – but setting off an alarm isn’t all that they can do. When triggered, the devices can notify you not only that a window or door was opened but also which one was triggered. This allows you to call a neighbor or notify the police and provide very specific details as to where a potential burglar entered. In some cases, the monitors may even be integrated into locks so that you can lock windows or doors remotely if you realize that you left them unlocked, taking care of a mistake that might have given a burglar easy access to your home.
 

Install a Security System

If these solutions don’t do enough to keep your packages and your home safe, consider getting a full home security system installed. These systems are more than just alarms; they contain several components that work together, along with active monitoring to contact the authorities or take other action if something suspicious occurs. Best of all, they can protect your home from other problems such as fires and even water leaks.
 

Keep Your Home Secure

Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

By: Homekeepr, Saro Cutri

Smart Homes Need Smart Protection: Getting to Know Smart Cameras

by Mary Gilbert


Things seem to be getting smarter and smarter these days. From smartphones to smart pressure cookers, anything that can be built with a brain or an internet connection seems to be being bulked up. Some items that are getting brains don’t necessarily make a lot of sense (smart toothbrushes?), and others seem like they should have gotten smarter sooner.

Smart cameras are a perfect example of the latter. They’re a good balance between smart and sexy, and they will keep your smart home safer.
 

Getting to Know Smart Cameras

A smart camera is different from a regular home security camera in that one camera can integrate with lots of sensors in your home and actually learn your behavior. So, if you normally disarm the alarm at 8:00 am and rearm it at 4:00 pm, that camera will begin to build that information into its profile of your household.
 

This way, when someone comes in at 8:00 pm and tries to disarm the alarm, even if they’re successful, the camera will be on alert for more clues about who this person is and if they belong in your home. You’ll be notified through an app in your phone that someone is lurking about.
 

Some smart cameras, like the Nest Cam IQ are even able to learn faces and distinguish friends you designate from strangers. When a stranger appears in this camera’s sight, it notifies you right away. If it’s simply a friend stopping by to see if you’re home, you can ask the Nest IQ to essentially ignore their activity.
 

Benefits of Modern Smart Security Cameras

Security cameras have been in homes for decades now, but today’s security cameras bear very little resemblance to their ancestors. Although they share functionality, that’s about all they have in common today. Here are a few things to keep in mind about modern smart cameras:
 

They’re tiny, with great big brains. As mentioned above, some smart cameras learn patterns of behavior, others go further and learn faces and names. All of this is made possible by modern computing and it’s stuffed into a tiny little package that’s hardly noticeable.
 

Minimal wiring is required. Old school security cameras required you to run new wiring from them to the television and recording device you were utilizing. Assuming the place you’re stashing the camera already has power, that’s still a lot of extra cabling to deal with. Smart cameras connect to your devices using WiFi, though they may need a wire for power.
 

Monitoring is DIY. Gone are the days of paying a company to do your monitoring or having way too much space in your house devoted to self-monitoring of those big ancient cameras. Now, you can monitor your camera in real time, no matter where you are. It’s a snap to just drop in and see how things are going in your vacation home or review videos from last night to see if your kids threw a house party while you were away.
 

Video storage is in The Cloud. The one drawback to smart cameras is that you will have to pay for storage for your recordings if you want to keep them. Most companies offer packages by time spans that range from about 24 hours to weeks and weeks. You can download your videos, but what you don’t download will disappear after the length of your storage subscription.
 

Get Smarter, Add A Smart Camera To Your Home Security
 

Contact The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

By: Homekeepr, Saro Cutri

Choosing a Home Security System for Your Roseburg OR Home

by Mary Gilbert


The home security business is booming, and with so many different brands, subscriptions, and DIY systems, it’s hard to decide what’s right for you and your home.  Let’s take some confusion out of the process with these tips and suggestions:
 

 

  • - First, decide on whether you need round-the-clock monitoring, or if you want to keep an eye on things yourself using your smart phone. 
     

  • - Major strides have been made over the past few years with third-party monitoring systems, and many companies offer apps for your phone so that you, as well as the company, can watch over things. 
     

  • - Most monitoring companies offer a free trial period as well, some up to 30 days.  If you’re not happy, you don’t have to commit to their service and worry about extra fees if you cancel before the trial period is up.  Ask before you commit. 
     

  • If you’re a renter, and worry about the permanent installation, most companies are offering wireless sensors and cameras that can be moved as you move. 
     

  • - For the DIYer, you or someone you know should be comfortable with setting up your system, not only the physical installation, but connecting it to your home’s internet or home management system. 
     

  • Safewise.com ranks their favorite 24-hour, monthly fee-based systems, and gives you all their pros and cons for each company. 
     

  • - Find the self-monitoring system that will work best for you with safehome.org‘s top systems, as well as their highest-ranked third-party systems. 
     

  • - Is there an elderly person in your life that lives alone?  Consider purchasing a security system for them, and Safe Home offers their favorites for ease-of-use and cost. 

 

There have been so many improvements to home security systems to accommodate busy families and the ease-of-use for setting and deactivating the alarm system as you come and go, you can find a system that best fits not only your home’s needs, but your family’s needs as well.  If you decide on a third-party service, make sure you budget accordingly, since there is a monthly fee, and usually a cancellation fee if you change your mind mid-contract. 
 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

Photo credit: PCMag.com

Keeping Your Packages Safe

by Mary Gilbert


With online shopping having become so popular, this time of year brings stories on the news about package thieves, as well as new gadgets to help deter someone from walking away with packages delivered while someone isn’t home.  There are several options w
e have that can help keep our deliveries secure, as well as help from online retailers.   

 

  • - Talk to neighbors that may be home during the days you’re expecting a package, and ask them to be on the lookout for a delivery to your home so they can hold it for you or stash it somewhere out of sight. 

  • - There are simple ways to hide an unattended package: have a large plant to hide boxes behind, or use a lockbox at your doorstep, with key instructions for the carrier in your delivery details. 

  • - Most large retailers will give you a “ship to store” option, and all you have to do is pick it up at the Customer Service desk.   

  • - If your package is coming via USPS, there are several ways to divert package delivery, as well as ask a carrier to leave it somewhere out of sight. 

  • - When you place your order, if you know you’re going to be at work, make sure your boss doesn’t mind if you have your items delivered to your workplace, and use that address for shipping. 

  • - Your local pack-and-ship store will receive deliveries for you for a fee.  

  • - Installing a visible security camera at your front door can deter some thieves, and some cameras come with motion-sensor options to set off a siren or other alert if someone gets too close to your front door. 

  • - Amazon is offering several delivery options:  Amazon LockerKey Smart Lock KitKey In-Car Delivery, and Hub by Amazon. 

  • - UPS offers My Choice to customize your deliveries. For FedEx deliveries, go to their Delivery Manager, create and account, and manage your deliveries. 

 

The best way to prevent “package Grinches” from stealing your deliveries is to be proactive.  Use text message and email alerts, as well as specific delivery company smartphone apps to notify you when a package is left at your door.  

 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

 

Photo credit: travelers.com

What Should I Look for in a Smart Security Camera?

by Mary Gilbert

Once upon a time having a security system or even just some video cameras meant that you either lived in a dodgy neighborhood or you had something really awesome to steal. Today, home security devices are common, inexpensive and can be used for all sorts of things, from watching your dog run around like a maniac while you’re at work to checking in to make sure the kids made it safely home from school.

 

Thanks to the magic of WiFi, you can even keep an eye on vacation homes or empty rentals if you’re willing to invest a little bit extra to keep the internet going or to upgrade to camera that can connect to your cellular account. Basically, if there’s something you want to see on the regular, a modern smart security camera can handle the job!

 

What Kind of Smart Cameras Are Available?

There are several major players in the smart security camera space, from easily recognized names like Nest and Ring to lesser known companies like Vimtag. The brands of the cameras don’t matter as much as you might think, but their features sure do. Let’s break it down.

 

Type of Security Camera

First and foremost, there are several types of cameras lumped in under the security camera header. Those are:

 

Webcams. These are cameras that you can check in with, but won’t necessarily alert you to movements or unusual sounds. They literally just give you a live feed of whatever you’re pointing them at.

 

Video Doorbells. Offering a decent view of the porch area, a video doorbell is a great solution if you receive a lot of packages or simply don’t want to get up to answer the door only to be surprised by solicitors. You can interact with people who ring the bell and when placed properly, the camera can alert and record quite a bit of activity within its field of vision.

 

Indoor Security. True security cameras have a great deal of customization so users can set them up to their exact needs. Some are able to be moved back and forth or up and down based on user input, even remotely. This can give you a better idea of what’s going on in the room.

 

Outdoor Security. Outdoor security cameras are much like the indoor ones, except that they have more durable housing and may be powered using things like solar panels to keep the maintenance to a minimum. Attach it, point it and forget it until it wakes you up at 2 am because someone is walking their dog down the street in front of your house.

 

Important Points to Ponder

Choosing a camera type is just the beginning. There are several features bundled with cameras that you may find incredibly valuable. Before you buy, check off these important points:

 

Power Source and Connectivity. Does your camera need a power plug? Can it draw power from existing wiring or will you need to upgrade to make it work? Furthermore, can it connect to the Internet using your WiFI or does it run on your cellular network?

 

What’s the App Like? Each camera company will have an app that’s slightly different. Check them out in your Android or Apple store before choosing a camera. It’s important that you can use the software without a lot of headaches.

 

Feed Type. There are generally two types of feeds that come with smart home security cameras: live or triggered. The live feeds are going to always show you what’s happening when you decide you want to take a peek. Triggered feeds record based on detected movement or sound, only giving you a picture of what was happening during that time. Many devices offer both, but if your eye is on a camera with a single option, choose the one you think you’ll use more.

 

Storage / Subscription Offerings. Your new camera probably comes with the option to use some amount of the company’s cloud storage for your video. Generally, packages are set up based on the length of time a video is saved, with options like 24 hours, a week, two weeks and a month being quite common. There’s no set price point between different companies, so be sure you’re comfortable with what they’re charging before buying the camera since you can’t use them on platforms other than the one owned by the parent company.

 

Smarter Features. Cameras like the Nest IQ series have advanced features that teach them the people who come and go from your home regularly. Instead of getting a generic alert that someone is on the property, you’ll be told that your friend Bob is there. Features like this save a lot of time spent guessing who might be lurking around your home.

 

Some of the smarter cameras are also Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit enabled. If you’re already using smart home products, make sure the camera you choose matches the smart home devices you have in place.

 

Help! These Smart Cameras Have Outsmarted Me!

Having smart cameras around the house that you use regularly can be a whole different experience from installing them. In fact, often the install is the hardest part, though most are meant to be able to be integrated by the adventurous homeowner.

 

Let The Mary Gilbert Group assist you in all your home-buying or selling needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

 

By: Homekeepr

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Photo of Mary Gilbert Real Estate
Mary Gilbert
Keller Williams Realty Umpqua Valley
2365 NW Kline Street, Suite 201
Roseburg OR 97471
541-371-5500
Fax: 541-371-5501

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