Articles Tagged "Home improvement"

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May
23

Whole-House Music Systems - CB Prime Properties

Being able to play music in any room you're in or even throughout the entire house is a goal for many homeowners. With all of the advancements in technology, multi-room audio is now easier than ever before and can be achieved in a variety of ways. Here are a few systems our real estate agents see used most often.

  • Sonos
    It used to be that Sonos was the brand of choice for any Albany homes for sale with ceiling or in-wall speakers installed, as there weren't a lot of other options for multi-room sound systems. While more options are available now, Sonos is still one of the best. Sonos doesn't use your wifi but sets up its own mesh wireless network, which keeps your bandwidth clear for other uses. Add a well-designed, intuitive app and the ability to install ceiling and in-wall speakers for a discreet, professional setup, and you'll see why Sonos is still one of the leading choices.

    Click Here to Read More...

April
11

arage Organization - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

Oh, the frustration! Our real estate agents helped you find a great house with plenty of garage space, but now you're looking at an ocean of boxes and bins with no room to even park your car. It's OK. Take a deep breath and get organized. Before you opt to spend even more money on a storage unit somewhere, take some time to maximize the space you already have.

  • Take Out the Trash
    You know you planned not to move junk into your new house, but exhaustion took over, and suddenly you have box upon box of unidentified stuff. Now is the time to rid yourself of it once and for all. Go through every container and sort the contents into toss, keep, and sell or donate. Just because something is "perfectly good," it isn't necessarily good for you. Get rid of what you don't need or truly want. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, we only use about 20% of the items we keep!

    Click Here to Read More...

March
14

Update Period Kitchen - CB Prime Properties

Living in an older home can sometimes feel like a catch-22. How do you infuse the comforts of modern-day living without compromising its character and old-world charm? Period homes, like these Albany homes for sale, offer a captivating glimpse into bygone days and come with charming architectural details that imbue them with a timeless appeal. That said, you still want your kitchen to be functional and energy-efficient.

Let's see how you can modernize your period kitchen while retaining those beautiful features that made you fall in love with it in the first place.

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February
28

Coastal Decor - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

If you often daydream of the beach but are miles away from the ocean, coastal décor can bring the charm of the seashore to your doorstep. When browsing through Albany homes for sale, you may wonder how to make your choice feel like summer all year round. Luckily, our real estate agents are fans of coastal interiors, and they share their best tips to evoke this style in your home below.

What Is Coastal Décor?

A coastal interior uses the texture and colors of seaside elements like the blue sky, white fluffy clouds, and sand to reflect the breeziness of the beach. Coastal interior designs differ between regions, depending on the style you desire. For instance, the Mediterranean coastal vibe features beautiful tile work, vivid colors, terracotta flooring, and warm and earthy textures.

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December
20

Winter Indoor Projects - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

Colder weather might mean more time spent inside Albany homes for sale. But that doesn't mean your DIY home projects have to come to an end. There are all kinds of things you can do to complete upgrades, improve energy efficiency, or even make your surroundings a little more pleasant. Crossing a few of these projects off your to-do list this winter will be well worth the effort.

  • Keep the cold air out by sealing leaks and openings
    This is an excellent DIY project for colder weather because it will keep drafts out, making your time indoors a little cozier. And it can even help lower heating costs, limit noise, and prevent pests too. Check around windows and door frames, attic and crawl space access points, and around vents, fans, and electrical outlets. Those are just a few of the places cold air can get in. For a list of other places to check, visit Energy.gov
     

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December
13

Living Room Storage - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

Our real estate agents can tell you if there's one thing almost everyone wants in Albany homes for sale, it's plenty of storage. The living room is one spot some extra storage can make a difference. Since it's a common area, it's not unusual for clutter to quickly take over. You might have a variety of different things that you use in that area too, so staying organized is key. If you've been longing for some additional storage, try one or more of these ideas to add function and style to your living room.

  • Look for multi-functional furniture and decor pieces. One of the best tips for the living room, especially if space is at a premium, is to look for pieces that serve more than one purpose. That way, you're not sacrificing function to add storage. You can still enjoy your living room as you usually do.

    Click Here to Read More...

August
24

You don't need a real estate license to find your dream home, but it does help to become familiar with the real estate jargon you might encounter during the process. When searching for a home or applying for a mortgage, you may hear your real estate agent or lender use any of the terms or acronyms below.

Keep this four-part guide handy — you'll be fluent in the language of home buying before you know it.

When you're searching for a home

  • Approved for short sale: A term that indicates that a homeowner's bank has approved a reduced listing price on a home, and the home is ready for resale.
  • Buyers market: Market conditions that exist when homes for sale outnumber buyers. Homes sit on the market a long time, and prices drop.
  • Comparative market analysis (CMA): An in-depth analysis, prepared by a real estate agent, that determines the estimated value of a home based on recently sold homes of similar condition, size, features and age that are located in the same area.
  • Comps: Or comparable sales, are homes in a given area that have sold within the past six months that a real estate agent uses to determine a home's value.
  • Days on market (DOM): The number of days a property listing is considered active.
  • Listing price: The price of a home, as set by the seller.
  • Multiple listing service (MLS): A database where real estate agents list properties for sale.
  • Sellers market: Market conditions that exist when buyers outnumber homes for sale. Bidding wars are common.
  • Short sale: The sale of a home by an owner who owes more on the home than it's worth. The owner's bank must approve a lower listing price before the home can be sold.

When you're applying for a mortgage

  • Back-end ratio: One of two debt-to-income ratios that a lender analyzes to determine a borrower's eligibility for a home loan. The ratio compares the borrower's monthly debt payments to gross income.
  • Depository institutions: Banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. These institutions underwrite as well as set home loan pricing in-house.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): A ratio that compares a home buyer's expenses to gross income.
  • Housing ratio: One of two debt-to-income ratios that a lender analyzes to determine a borrower's eligibility for a home loan. The ratio compares total housing cost (principal, homeowners insurance, taxes and private mortgage insurance) to gross income.
  • Loan estimate: A three-page document sent to an applicant three days after they apply for a home loan. The document includes loan terms, monthly payment and closing costs.
  • Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): The amount of the loan divided by the price of the house. Lenders reward lower LTV ratios.
  • Origination fee: A fee, charged by a broker or lender, to initiate and complete the home loan application process.
  • Pre-approval: A thorough assessment of a borrower's income, assets and other data to determine a loan amount they would qualify for. A real estate agent will request a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter before showing a buyer a home.
  • Pre-qualification: A basic assessment of income, assets and credit score to determine what, if any, loan programs a borrower might qualify for. A real estate agent will request a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter before showing a buyer a home.
  • Underwriting: A process a lender follows to assess a home loan applicant's income, assets and credit, and the risk involved in offering the applicant a mortgage.

When you're shopping for a mortgage

  • Conventional loan: A home loan not guaranteed by a government agency, such as the FHA or the VA.
  • Down payment: A certain portion of the home's purchase price that a buyer must pay. A minimum requirement is often dictated by the loan type.
  • Fannie Mae: A government-sponsored enterprise chartered in 1938 to help ensure a reliable and affordable supply of mortgage funds throughout the country.
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA): A government agency created by the National Housing Act of 1934 that insures loans made by private lenders.
  • FHA 203(k): A rehabilitation loan backed by the federal government that permits homebuyers to finance money into a mortgage to repair, improve or upgrade a home.
  • Foreclosure: A property repossessed by a bank when the owner fails to make mortgage payments.
  • Freddie Mac: A government agency chartered by Congress in 1970 to provide a constant source of mortgage funding for the nation's housing markets.
  • Mortgage broker: A licensed professional who works on behalf of the buyer to secure financing through a bank or other lending institution.
  • Mortgage interest rate: The price of borrowing money. The base rate is set by the Federal Reserve and then customized per borrower, based on credit score, down payment, property type and points the buyer pays to lower the rate.
  • Piggyback loan: A combination of loans bundled to avoid private mortgage insurance. One loan covers 80% of the home's value, another loan covers 10% to 15% of the home's value, and the buyer contributes the remainder.
  • Principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance (PITI): The components of a monthly mortgage payment.
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI): A fee charged to borrowers who make a down payment that is less than 20% of the home's value. The fee, 0.3% to 1.5% of the yearly loan amount, can be canceled in certain circumstances when the borrower reaches 20% equity.
  • Points: Prepaid interest owed at closing, with one point representing 1% of the loan. Paying points, which are tax deductible, will lower the monthly mortgage payment.

When you've chosen a home

  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI): A not-for-profit professional association that sets and promotes standards for property inspections. Look for this accreditation or something similar when shopping for a home inspector.
  • Cash-value policy: A homeowners insurance policy that pays the replacement cost of a home, minus depreciation, should damage occur.
  • Closing costs: Fees associated with the purchase of a home that are due at the end of the sales transaction. Fees may include the appraisal, the home inspection, a title search, a pest inspection and more. Buyers should budget for an amount that is 1% to 3% of the home's purchase price.
  • Contingencies: Conditions written into a home purchase contract that protect the buyer should issue arise with financing, the home inspection, etc.
  • Earnest money: A security deposit made by the buyer to assure the seller of his or her intent to purchase.
  • Escrow account: An account required by a lender and funded by a buyer's mortgage payment to pay the buyer's homeowners insurance and property taxes.
  • Escrow state: A state in which an escrow agent is responsible for closing.
  • Home inspection: A non-destructive visual look at the systems in a building. Inspection occurs when the home is under contract or in escrow.
  • Homeowners insurance: A policy that protects the structure of the home, its contents, injury to others and living expenses should damage occur.
  • In escrow: A period of time (30 days or longer) after a buyer has made an offer on a home and a seller has accepted. During this time, the home is inspected and appraised, and the title searched for liens, etc.
  • Title insurance: Insurance that protects the buyer and lender should an individual or entity step forward with a claim that was attached to the property before the seller transferred legal ownership of the property or "title" to the buyer.
  • Transfer taxes: Fees imposed by the state, county or municipality on transfer of title.
  • Under contract: A period of time (30 days or longer) after a buyer has made an offer on a home and a seller has accepted. During this time, the home is inspected and appraised, and the title is searched for liens, etc.
  • Walkthrough: A buyer's final inspection of a home before closing.

When you own a home

  • Equity: A percentage of the home's value owned by the homeowner.
  • Homeowners Association (HOA): The governing body of a housing development, condo or townhome complex that sets rules and regulations. They charge dues used to maintain common areas.
  • Property tax exemption: A reduction in taxes based on specific criteria, such as installation of a renewable energy system or rehabilitation of a historic home.
  • Tax lien: The government's legal claim against property when the homeowner neglects or fails to pay a tax debt.

Find out what else you can do to prepare for buying a home here.


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July
19

Ceiling Fans - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

When decorating your home, it's important to explore modern elements that adhere to your preferred aesthetic. One increasingly controversial item in the world of home decor is the installation of ceiling fans.

Some home decor enthusiasts feel ceiling fans are a potentially outdated, low-end addition. However, our real estate agents know that when used correctly, ceiling fans are a valuable addition to any home. Follow these tips to ensure your ceiling fans are a hit. 

  • Avoid Outdated Ceiling Fans
    One reason that ceiling fans have a bad reputation is that outdated ceiling fans that appear old and rickety can negatively impact a room's appearance. Homebuyers searching for Albany homes for sale may associate an old ceiling fan with poor home maintenance or overall outdated features. They may even view the entire home as "old," even when it isn't.

    Click Here to Read More...

June
7

Choosing Mulch for Landscaping - CB Prime Properties

Improving the appearance of your landscaping can boost the curb appeal of Albany homes for sale and give your home that wow factor. Mulch is an essential part of the overall look of your landscaping. It gives everything a neat and finished look making your yard look well cared for. The right kind of mulch will help keep your plants healthy too.  

Mulch vs. Rocks vs. Ground Cover Plants

There's more than one way to finish off your landscaping, so here's how to know if mulch is right for your situation:

  • Mulch is very common and appropriate for a wide variety of soil and plants. It gives your landscape an immediate finished look, and individual plants will be visible. Mulch helps control soil temperature, moisture, deter weed growth, and helps prevent erosion. Organic mulches decompose and add nutrients to the soil, so they will need to be replaced periodically. You won't want to use it in a steep-sloped area or where it can wash away easily.

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May
10

Create Office Space - CB Prime Properties

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 20 percent of people were working from home. This figure has increased to a whopping 71 percent of people who report that they work from home at least some of the time. With so many people working from home, it's important to have a productive workspace.

If you don't have dedicated office space, you can transform your closet into one. Our real estate agents know that a home with an office space also appeals to potential home buyers. Check out these tips to turn your closet into a cozy home office.

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March
15

DIY Bookshelves - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

If your books are littered everywhere around your house, here's some good news: You don't need master carpentry skills, thousands of dollars, or a workshop full of tools to build a dreamy bookshelf. With the right supplies and a little bit of creativity, you can build a unit worthy of a great library. Use it to display your cherished reads, media collection, knickknacks, and anything that suits your fancy. Our real estate agents give you the steps below for building an easy and inexpensive DIY bookshelf.

  • Design and Determine the Dimensions
    You can custom design your bookshelf to fit a particular space or make one that can work in various locations. Either way, measure the space where you'll place the shelf unit. Decide how tall and how wide you want it to be. Typically, bookshelves are 12" or 16", but you can build yours to suit your needs. When you plan the size, you want the shelves to support the heaviest objects you have in mind without causing a noticeable dip. The shelves should be strong enough to support a heavy load of books and other décor items. Also, decide if you want your bookshelf to have a closed or open back.

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March
8

Central New York: Women In Business 

Real Estate and Women: A Perfect Pairing

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year that no one will ever forget – and for Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, that's not just because of the pandemic. Last year, we grew by double digits, expanded into new markets, and helped more than 6500 individuals find a place to call home. At the core of our surging success is our local leadership teams, which are made up of 22 individuals, 18 of whom are women.

As a top 2% Coldwell Banker affiliate, we are especially proud this year to celebrate Coldwell Banker's recent honor of the Women's Choice Award. The Women's Choice Award is the only award that recognizes and identifies brands that women recommend.

At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry." – Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Not only is Coldwell Banker recommended as a brand to work with, but as real estate leaders in customer experience and quality, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties is an incredible place to work for.

Want to BE PART OF THE COLDWELL BANKER BRAND? Contact one of our local branch offices today!

March
8

Capital Region Women In Business 

Real Estate and Women: A Perfect Pairing

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year that no one will ever forget – and for Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, that's not just because of the pandemic. Last year, we grew by double digits, expanded into new markets, and helped more than 6500 individuals find a place to call home. At the core of our surging success is our local leadership teams, which are made up of 22 individuals, 18 of whom are women.

As a top 2% Coldwell Banker affiliate, we are especially proud this year to celebrate Coldwell Banker's recent honor of the Women's Choice Award. The Women's Choice Award is the only award that recognizes and identifies brands that women recommend.

At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry." – Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Not only is Coldwell Banker recommended as a brand to work with, but as real estate leaders in customer experience and quality, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties is an incredible place to work for.

Want to BE PART OF THE COLDWELL BANKER BRAND? Contact one of our local branch offices today!

March
1

Things That Impact Property Value - Sell a Home - CB Prime Properties

Your home's value is determined by two types of issues: (1) things you can control and (2) things you cannot. Despite the things you can't change, you can improve your home's value to ensure that it's among the most desired Albany homes for sale.

Our real estate agents are familiar with the factors you can control and can help you maximize your home's value:

  1. Lack of Curb Appeal
    As the old saying goes: You never get a second chance at a first impression. Curb appeal is shorthand for everything someone sees as they drive up to your home, including the front yard, windows, porch, front door, and exterior paint. If your front yard is a tangled mess of weeds and faded and chipped paint, all your potential buyers will see are the thousands of dollars they will need to spend to fix the curb appeal. Conversely, your home will shine with a manicured lawn, clean windows, and a fresh coat of paint.

    Click Here to Read More...

February
22

Landscaping Trends for 2021 - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

As a seller, you're probably looking for that extra something to give your home an edge over the competition. Starting with some advice from our real estate agents is always a good idea. They can tell you about the market in your area and what buyers are looking for right now.

Like everyone else, many buyers in the market right now have spent far more time than usual at home over the last year. And they've realized that their current home just doesn't fit their needs. So how do you make your Albany homes for sale stand out to them? Taking advantage of the current landscaping trends is an excellent place to start. The outside of the house and yard are the first things a buyer sees, so they can make a big impression. It can also help them imagine themselves entertaining friends, working out, or enjoying their favorite hobbies outdoors in this new space. And that might be just the thing that motivates them to make an offer.

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February
1

Buyers Will Love These Storage Solutions - CB Prime Properties

If we have the space, we tend to fill it. From the young family in a starter home to an empty-nesting couple preparing for retirement, everyone accumulates "stuff" along the way. And if you're considering putting your house on the market among Albany homes for sale, you'll need a storage place for all that stuff.

Our real estate agents know that some of the best storage solutions are about investing in underutilized space. Consider these tips:

  1. Go Low
    Investing early and often in under-furniture storage options is a great way to control clutter and elevate your home. Everyone is familiar with under bed plastic bins that you can find at a big box store. These options are great if you want to keep these items hidden, but you aren't limited to these options alone.

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August
31

Outdoor Projects - Homeowners - CB Prime Properties

Some of us have a little more time on our hands than we know what to do with this summer. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as we think of ways to beautify, improve, or just make more interesting use of our landscapes. Summertime is the right time in our region to make the most of great weather and get things done before falls sets in.

Our real estate agents are experts at helping homeowners enhance their properties. They can answer your questions about how to make your home stand out among other Albany homes for sale

Have a look at these easy projects where you can channel your creativity while making your property more appealing.

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June
8

Remodeling ROI - Sell a Home - CB Prime Properties

Planning to put your house on the market this year? Sprucing up your home can help it stand out from the many beautiful Albany homes for sale. But before you embark on any remodeling project, you need to plan and be wise with your cash. The fact is, few remodeling projects increase the value of your home enough for you to realize a profit or recoup the entire remodeling cost when the house is sold. So, you want to be certain you're investing in upgrades that will maximize the return on investment (ROI). Here are some industry rules of thumb that our real estate agents want you to know before committing to a project.

  • Consider the Market Trends
    Renovations done to make your home more appealing to buyers do not have to align with your tastes. Buyers' expectations have risen thanks to the influence of home remodeling and buying TV shows. You need to keep your eye on what's working for others. For instance, homebuyers are hot on farmhouse kitchen sinks that are deeper than traditional ones. Also trending are modern bathrooms, new garage doors, and water-conserving landscaping.

    Click Here to Read More...

May
18

Low-Cost Home Updates - CB Prime Properties

As we do our best to make the most of our time at home, many of us are looking for inexpensive ways to spruce up our space. From spring cleaning and touching up your curb appeal to small interior decor updates, there are a lot of creative ways to update your home without breaking the bank. 

Here are a few fun projects that our real estate agents have tackled over the past few weeks.  

  1. Rearrange the Furniture
    This is a great project because it doesn't take much time and won't cost you anything. Rearranging the furniture in your living room, bedrooms, or even the dining room can create a whole new look. Sometimes, just changing the angle of certain pieces can make a big difference, so go ahead and experiment!

    Best of all, if you decide you don't like the way it looks, you can always just put it back.

    Click Here to Read More...

May
4

Home WiFi Tips - CB Prime Properties

If you're anything like our real estate agents, there's an excellent chance you will find yourself working from home a little more than usual this year. And, if you have children at home, that means greater competition for precious internet resources so that everyone can get their work, homework, and, of course, shopping is done on time. As they say, there's no time like the present to make sure your Wi-Fi is up to the task. 

Optimizing Your Wi-Fi

  • Check Your Plan. It may be time to increase the speed of your service. If you're streaming a lot of videos, participating in videoconferences, or playing games on two-four computers, you'll want to have somewhere between 12-25Mbps. Remember that the more devices you have, the more speed you will need.

    Click Here to Read More...

March
9

Spring Stand Out - Sell a Home - CB Prime Properties

Even in the toughest times for buying, potential homebuyers will have other homes under consideration. Spring is a particularly busy time for home sales, so even if your house is one of a few for sale near you right now, by the time daffodils bloom, other "For Sale" signs might be popping up too. Our real estate agents are experts at helping home sellers stand out in a busy market. You can get a head start on making a lasting impression on potential buyers with a mix of good home maintenance and imagination. 

  • Fixing to Sell Your Home 
    This isn't the time to consider a serious renovation, but if you have repairs you've put off or are ongoing, finish those before placing your house on the market. Apply a new coat of paint in areas that are scuffed or peeling. Especially if the need for repair is obvious, this can turn buyers away from even a modestly priced home. If your house needs extensive repairs, it may be better as an investment property than for a family to move in.

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February
3

Classic Blue - Sell a Home - CB Prime Properties

Every year one of the much-awaited, trendsetting moments for the design world is the announcement of Pantone's Color of the Year. And this year's color definitely deserves all the attention. Pantone's Color of the Year for 2020 is Classic Blue. Unlike some previous Colors of the Year (we're looking at you, Living Coral and Ultra Violet), Classic Blue offers a timeless look, versatility, and universal appeal. Our real estate agents often recommend clients do some repainting and depersonalization to make your home appealing to as many buyers as possible. And this year's Classic Blue is a color you can use with confidence. Here are some suggestions, room by room.

  • Outside. Classic Blue is an appealing and safe choice for painting a front door. It can also create a clean and crisp look as trim on a white house. You could also pair it with green in a four-season room or use it for cushions on outdoor furniture.

    Click Here to Read More...

December
30

Smart Home Automation - CB Prime Properties

New homeowners, set a reminder on your smartphone: January 6th is National Technology Day! Technology is woven into nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and our real estate agents want to help you maximize your connectivity around your new living space. Believe it or not, many homeowners aren't aware of the many recent tech advances that can turn any type of house into a fully-functional smart home. Bring convenience into your life and consider upgrading your new space with these home automation upgrades.

  1. Smart Hub
    If you don't have an interconnected command center in your new home, put it at the top of your list! Many of the best tech companies, including Google and Amazon, will help you not only integrate smart technology throughout your home, but they'll also offer you an easy to use command center to control these systems. Your smart home hub can connect to other devices, giving you the ability to use a simple swipe of a finger or vocal command to utilize countless smart systems.

    Click Here to Read More...

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