The Ring doorbell system may see like a great way to keep your home safe. The doorbell cameras let you see who’s at the door and who has come to visit when you weren’t home. You can even use the video recording to see if a missing package got delivered or who put that pink flamingo in your yard.

In the past few years, however, there have been some concerns about the safety of these video doorbells. Some reports suggest that the doorbells can be hacked, and privacy concerns have surfaced around how they operate. If you’re wondering how legitimate these issues are and whether Ring is safe, here are some things to consider.

How Ring Works

Ring doorbells are smart devices that provide you with a video camera unit by your front door. A motion detector on the unit alerts you there is someone approaching the door, giving you the option to see them, hear what they say and even talk back to them. Unlike old-school doorbell intercoms, Ring connects to your home network and to the cloud so that you can access video and audio regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. Video clips are even shareable if you desire. Given its popularity, in recent years Ring has expanded to offer full-home security options and even smart lighting as well.

Ring Hacking Concerns

There have been legitimate reports of hackers gaining access to home Ring units or to their cloud-based video vault. An exploit in the Ring software was also discovered. Some cases of details about the home network (including the access password) could be broadcast by the Ring unit in unencrypted plain text. If a hacker were able to get access to this broadcast, they would be able to log on to the home network, and potentially access the computers and other devices that were connected.

Ring and Privacy Issues

On top of the hacking concerns, the fact that Ring begins recording video in front of your house when motion is detected raised some concerns that it might violate people’s privacy. The fear was that even people who weren’t approaching your home could be captured on film if they were walking by when the camera was activated or if the motion sensor was able to detect movement beyond the boundaries of your property. For those who worry about surveillance or are afraid that videos of them might be shared without their knowledge or consent, this makes Ring-related privacy issues a very real concern.

Is Ring Safe?

The concerns people have about Ring units being hacked or invading their privacy when out in public are legitimate, though remain a very small problem. The issue with Ring broadcasting information in plain text was caught before it could be exploited and has been patched, and the company has instituted additional login security measures to help prevent unauthorized access to accounts. And while there is the potential for Ring cameras to pick up motion outside a user’s property, its sensors have a fairly limited range and detect motion relatively close to your front door.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any concerns to using Ring, of course. Hacking concerns can be reduced by making sure that both your home network and any devices that connect to it are secured with strong passwords. You should also take care to position cameras and motion detectors so that they don’t face your neighbor’s house, and use caution when setting up devices like these if you have a very small yard. With a little care, however, these devices should be safe to use.

Keeping Your Home Secure

Home security is a serious concern, and it’s important that you can trust the devices you use to secure your home. If you’re in need of a more professional security solution, check out HomeKeepr to help you find the security pros that you need to select and install devices that are both safe to use, and trustworthy and reliable when you need them.

Are you considering updating your home? Painting is one of the most economical and impactful choices you can make to your home. The following article addresses specific color choices and the associated returns for your efforts – important items to consider when you update your home – especially with an eye to selling it.

Painting your home is a great way to express yourself and let your personality shine through in your living space. The colors you choose for your rooms can really bring them to life in ways that few other changes can. However, a fresh coat of paint can do more than just give your rooms some personality. With the right colors, the paint you choose can even increase the likelihood that your house will sell at a good price when you put it on the market. To maximize this effect, there are a few colors you should consider (and a few you should avoid.)

Picking the Right Color

If you’re looking for a good color to apply throughout the house, consider a light shade of gray or beige. Both of these colors help to liven up rooms by adding just a bit of color but are neutral enough to let each room’s other accents take command. If you want something a bit different, taupe or so-called “greige” colors (mixes of gray and beige) can also work well. Some off-white colors, especially those with hints of brown or other warm shades, can also brighten up your rooms. Many of these colors pair well with white or beige baseboards and trim.

Good Kitchen Colors

If you’re going room by room, the kitchen is a good place to add a bit of darker color. Darker grays and grays mixed with darker blue shades do well in the kitchen; in fact, some reports have shown that homes with a gray-blue shade in the kitchen sell for an average of $1800 more than similar homes with other kitchen shades. Depending on the size of your kitchen and the amount of wall that’s actually visible behind the cabinets and appliances, you may be able to get away with hotter colors such as deep red or dark orange. Just avoid going too bright with whatever color you choose.

Living Room and Bath Colors

The living area and bathroom both benefit from more neutral shades such as beige and gray, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up in some cases. Consider the flooring and other fixtures as well as the amount of natural light that comes into the room and look at colors that take advantage of what’s already there. Light green, blue or brown can sometimes work wonderfully, especially if they include hints of gray to keep them from being too bright. You can even choose a bit stronger blues in the bathroom as homebuyers tend to respond well to blue there, just so long as you don’t go for too bright of a shade.

Bedroom Colors

Blue is a popular bedroom color, especially in shades such as cerulean. There are several bold color choices that you can get away with in the bedroom, though. Don’t go crazy with the bedroom colors and avoid anything that’s too bright – but giving the bedroom a splash of color in blue, green or even red or brown can work well so long as it’s not too much of a departure from the rest of the house.

Colors to Avoid

There are, of course, a few colors that you should avoid when painting your walls. Anything too bright or garish should obviously be avoided since it could turn off potential buyers. Black is another color to avoid; not only do many people find it depressing, but it will also be difficult for future homeowners to cover up. Also on the list of colors to avoid? Bright white. You might think that this would give your home a clean look or make it ready for a new homeowner to customize, but bright whites (especially when paired with white trim) often create a clinical look that actually makes buyers less interested in the space.

Making the Choice

If you’re not sure which colors will work best in your home, consider bringing in an interior designer or painter to help you pick the perfect hue. Sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today and you can find the perfect helper for your budget and your sense of style.

The AR Property Group has worked with many interior designers, home staging companies and painting contractors. Please give Ann, Randy and Christine a call for their recommendations and tap in to their experience! We’re never too busy for your referrals!

Is your home ready for the broiling heat of summer? Spend a few hours following this list of simple, yet effective, ways to make your home more energy-efficient. Not only will they keep your home cooler, but they’ll save your appliances from working overtime, lowering your electricity bill as a whole. Learn how to save on your home energy bill in the summer with these summer energy saving tips:

1) Check your air filters – Clogged air filters block airflow and reduce your AC’s blower fan’s ability to circulate the air properly, causing your AC to use more energy.
2) Check Your Return Air Vents– Keep your return air vents clean and make sure they aren’t blocked by curtains or furniture so that airflow is not reduced.
3) Inspect your condenser unit– Turn the system off and give the cooling fins a good clean. Also, make sure to clear fallen branches or weeds that may be blocking it.
4) Install Curtains to Block Sunlight– Pay attention to the sun’s patterns across the house and consider installing insulated or thermal backed drapes to block out extra heat and sunlight.
5) Get Your HVAC System Inspected– Call an HVAC expert to give your system a tune-up. You want to be sure that your system can take the heat!
6) Air seal your home – Air sealing your home ensures that outside air can’t get in, and your cooler conditioned air can’t get out. Expanding foam and caulk are a few materials you can use to properly seal your home. Also, check the weatherstripping on doors and windows.
7) Add insulation to your attic– Attic insulation works as a thermal shield. The better insulation in your attic, the better your living areas are kept cool.
8) HVAC Air Duct Sealing – Your system works best when air can flow unobstructed and without air leaking out. Sealing up your home’s ductwork can increase its performance by 20 to 30 percent. It’s well worth your time!
9) Check your ceiling fan direction – Make sure your ceiling fan is rotating in the direction that makes it blow downwards. In the summer you want it to spin counter-clockwise.
10) Turn up your thermostat – Turn up your thermostat when you leave during the day while sleeping at night. Even a few degrees higher will reduce your energy usage.

The AR Property Group has worked with numerous HVAC companies over the years.  Please reach out to Ann, Randy or Christine for contact information.  Stay cool!

Our May newsletter is chock full of detailed tips so we thought it would also be a helpful blog post too.  Spring has sprung!  And it is a great time to get your home ready for summer.  Take advantage of cooler weather now to get a jump on home maintenance work so you can go into summer enjoying the fruits of your early labors.

Here’s a checklist of items you might want to put on your spring home maintenance tune-up:

Do you think you’ll need professional help with any of these tasks?  Call the AR Property Group for a great referral!


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