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Articles for ‘Way Cool’

Quirky New Smart Gadgets for Your Home

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 by Jennifer Williams

Smart Home gadgets for under $100

With all of our “smart” technology, Quirky, an online community where amateur inventors can bring their ideas to life, and GE, have unveiled seven new smart gadgets guaranteed to increase the IQ of your home.  Under $100, they’re packed with ways to help you control your home appliances right from your smartphone, anywhere, anytime.

Let’s start with explaining Wink, an app available in both iOS and Android that acts as a main control center for connected devices. It works with devices from various manufacturers including: Philips, Nest, and General Electric (GE), which is one of Quirky’s partners. Through Wink, you’re able to monitor and control any sensor separately or let them communicate with each other and you can set some very cool actions. For example, if you open a window, your heat/AC will turn off; or when your garage door opens, your lights, furnace, and even television can all turn on.

The first new gadget is a window and door sensor named Tripper, created by Robert Sweeney, independent inventor for Quirky. For only $40, this tiny white rectangle will alert you when your windows or doors open. This is great for families with small children or even pets, which have a way of sneaking out unnoticed. Not only can you get an alert for openings, Tripper can be connected to Wink and set to turn off your heat or AC when a window is opened.

Tripper

Tripper

The next product is Overflow, created by Michael Taylor, Quirky contributor. For only $35, it monitors the moisture levels where ever there may be a problem: under your water heater, basements, garages, or attics. Just set the maximum moisture level and if it goes over, you’ll receive an alert. Though it won’t solve any leaks, you’ll be aware of it before the problem becomes a huge disaster! Overflow connects with the Wink app as well.

Overflow

Overflow

 

By the same inventor of Overflow, comes Outlink, a $50 wall outlet that monitors energy usage and allows you to turn appliances on and off remotely. Even when items are off, they continue to suck up energy if they’re still plugged in. Just replace your current outlets for things like your television, fans, hair dryer or anything that stays plugged in when not in use, with Outlink. With a few quick clicks on your smart phone, everything can be regulated and it’s much easier than trying to run around every morning and unplug all your appliances.

Outlink

Outlink

Taylor’s third contribution is a switch that essentially acts as a main light switch for your home. For $60, Tapt will let you control any of the lights in your house with a mere touch of a button or through your smartphone. This is perfect for those times when you’re settled into bed for the night and see the bathroom light on, or trying to get your kids up in the morning, just turn on their lights! With Wink, you can program lights and appliances to on and off while your away or asleep, adding a layer of security as well.

Tapt

Tapt

Created by Nathan Firth, Quirky contributor, Ascend connects to your garage door and now you control it from your phone. For $90, you actually just swipe your finger up on the garage door image on your phone, then watch your door go up. You’ll get real time alerts when the door is opened. Better still, it works from anywhere around the world, allowing you to always have access to an “extra” key. Let friends or family in the house even if you’re not there.

Ascend

Ascend

We all have those rooms that are either too hot or cold compared to the rest of the house. This problem led Denny Fong, Quirky contributor, to his idea. Traditional thermostats can’t control individual rooms, but Norm can. Norm is designed to connect with a series of sensors (not included in the $80 device price) that tell it which rooms are in use and Norm will heat or cool accordingly. The Wink hubs sell for $50 each and you would need as many as spaces you want to control. No more cold nights needing extra blankets!

Norm

Norm

Quirky is currently selling bundle packs as well with many of the main items included to get you well on your way to the smartest house on the block!

Hamptons of Hinsdale: Luxury Condos and Townhomes for Sale

Monday, October 24th, 2011 by Sari Levy

Looking to live in Utopia?  Then you might want to check out the Hamptons of Hinsdale.  Located near the intersection of 59th and Washington Streets in Hinsdale, the Hamptons plans to offer over 100 luxury units, both townhomes and condos set in a serene park like location with ponds and open space.  The infrastructure and site improvement work is virtually complete. The first four-unit town home building is complete (pictured below) and a 23-unit condominium building is also under construction. Foundation work and underground garages have been completed for two additional condominium buildings.

Hamptons-of_Hinsdale_Townhomes_For_Sale

Background

In 2002, Wextrust Development purchased the property for $18 million. Wextrust planned to construct 12 buildings on the Hinsdale site.  In the original plan, seven buildings would contain 23 luxury townhomes and five larger structures would house 93 condominium apartments. Prices were to range from $339,000 to $697,900 for the condos and $695,000 to $940,000 for the townhouses. But work on the project halted that year when Wextrust CEO and COO were indicted by a federal grand jury for involvement in a $255 million Ponzi scheme.

After sitting on the market for sometime, The Hamptons was purchased by a subsidiary of Oak Brook-based Inland Opportunity earlier this year from Citizen’s Financial Bank.  According to The Hamptons website, The Hamptons is “Well-funded, carefully planned and on schedule for completion in the near future.” Next Generation Development out of Wheaton will handle construction, sales and marketing.” The Hamptons sales trailer is now on-site along Grant  Street, well as the rear entry near Washington & Kennedy.

Located on a 12.5 acre parcel of land, The Hamptons offers 26 Villa Townhomes and 93 Condominiums set among landscaped grounds, featuring shingle-style architecture, open space with gazebos and a tranquil pond. The Hamptons is situated in the highly desirable Elementary school district 181 and in Hinsdale Central High School District.

Marketed as “affordable, intelligent living”, there are four town home designs that span 2,473 to 2,817 square feet and 9 condo floor plans are available, ranging from 1,262 to2,239 square feet.  In a small change from the original plan there will be four condo buildings and six villa buildings.  Below is a table showing the units being offered with links to more information for the units available now.

Unit Sq. Ft. Beds Baths Starting Price Type
Biltmore 1,262   1   1.5 $290,000       Condo
Chelsea 1,466   2   2 $355,000       Condo
Rushfield 1,673   2   2 $390,000       Condo
Felsted 1,702   2   2 $425,000       Condo
Lennox 1,740   2   2.5 $440,000       Condo
Kelmscott 1,807   2   2.5 $485,000       Condo
Oxford 1,833   2   2.5 $505,000       Condo
Shelbourne 2,000   2   2.5 $530,000       Condo
Wentworth 2,239   2   2.5 $550,000       Condo
Broadmoor 2,473   2   2.5 $598,000     T/home
Cotswold 2,647   3   2.5 $647,000     T/home
Prescott 2,689   3   2.5 $658,000     T/home
Nantucket 2,818   2   2.5 $698,000     T/home

The grand opening took place the weekend of September 9th.  There are two units listed for sale in the MLS as available now, the Broadmoor and the Cotswold.  Both are listed substanially higher than the starting prices listed on the table above -with the Broadmoor being listed at $689,900, and the Cotswold for $697,000.  Also, not in the MLS but listed as available on the Hamptons site is the Prescott for $722,000. As of October 20, 2011, one unit has sold, and that was for a Prescott unit back in 2008 for $1,036,058.  Bet that guy is anxious for some neighbors who are going to pay about 30% less than he did.  Ouch.

Hinsdale Condo Market Conditions

Currently, there are a total of 68 units on the market in all of Hinsdale priced from $60k to $1mm.  In the last 12 months,  in the Hinsdale Market, 16 condo/townhome units have sold ranging in price from $142,500 – $950,000.  Simple math indicates that there is already a 4 1/4 years supply of inventory.  With The Hamptons adding an additional 112 units, the time triples.  It will be very interesting to see what sort of demand the Hamptons is able to create.

Villa Taj, BACK ON THE MARKET!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by Sari Levy

Around a year ago, I wrote about a 30,000 plus square foot home fit for only a king, Villa Taj in Burr Ridge.  In February, with a potential client trying to buy the place for $6mm, I learned that the seller wasn’t entertaining any potential buyers who can’t back up their interest with a $10mm documented net worth.

As of August 13 2010, the auctioneer has listed the property on the MLS for $13mm.  My guess of the place selling for $12mm may not be so far off.  As suspected, the co-op commission is listed as 1%.  That means buying the place using a traditional agent, the buyers agent gets paid $130k.  We think that is a bit much and under our model we’d rebate at least 50% of that amount to our client who closes on the purchase of this home.

French Country Estate, Yours for the Bid!- Riverside, IL Auction

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 by Sari Levy

122 Nuttall Rd, Riverside, IL 60546

Always on the lookout for opportunity, I spotted a beautiful home coming to the auction block on July 27, 2010.  Grand Estates is selling this home at an ” Absolute Auction”  with “No Minimum or Reserve – Regardless of Price”; that is,  free and clear of all liens.  Basically, you can name your own price to get this home.   If you think you are interested in bidding on this home, below are a few things you need to know/do.

  • Schedule an appointment to look at the home during the preview period which starts July 23rd. 
  • Review the extensive Property Purchase Package™ (PPP™) booklet that has been prepared to assist the buyers in evaluating and bidding on this property. The PPP™ is available for $75. 
  • Register for the auction.  To register to bid, one must submit a $50k certified check made payable to the bidder or personal check along with bank letter of guarantee.
  • 10% down payment will be due immediately after being declared the buyer.  (The registration fee is applied against the ten percent down payment)
  • The balance is due in cash at closing within 30 days 
  • A “Buyer’s Premium” is added to your bid.  How much?  7.5% will be added to the winning bid price. So basically, in this case, the BUYER and not the seller is paying the real estate commission, marketing costs, etc.  in this transaction.  The auction house is kind enough to offer a  cooperating commission of 3%.  Of course, if you work with us on the purchase we would rebate you over $25K from our commission!

More about the house…..

Built in 2003 and originally listed on the MLS in 2007 at $3.85mm, this Orren Pickell designed and built home offers a breathtaking mixture of imported stone,wrought-iron works and  one-of-a kind architectural detailing.  Six bedroom suites, great room, media room, family workshop, dual utility rooms and wine cellar are coupled with state-of-the-art media and electrical components. Despite all that it brags, the home sat on the market for over four years.   

Property Features

  • 6 Bedrooms
  • 7  full and 2 half Bathrooms
  • Heated Freeform Pool with Waterfall Spa
  • Gourmet Kitchen with Viking & Sub-Zero Appliances
  • SmartHome System w/8 Programmable LCD – Displays Control: Lighting, HVAC, Security, Audio/Video, Pool/Spa
  • Home Theater
  • Library
  • Wine Cellar w/ Tasting Area
  • Gameroom w/ Kitchenette
  • Home Gym
  • Oversized, Heated 3.5 Car Garage

The most expensive listing on the MLS in the town of Riverside is a $1.35mm – 13 room home with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  The most expensive sale in Riverside is 1.725mm in September of 2006 and that home has 11 rooms  with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. 

It will be interesting to see how much this home fetches.  My guess is that someone will be happy to snap it up at $1.5mm.  Before jumping in to purchase, be aware that the current tax bill is $56k per year.

Villa Taj Update

Monday, February 8th, 2010 by Sari Levy

Last October, I wrote about an outrageous mansion, Villa Taj in Burr Ridge.  Since then I have obtained some interesting tidbits of updated information.

  • The auction reserve price was $12 million dollars – the auction failed
  • The current broker thinks the place could be sold for scrap for a mere $6mm
  • The seller isn’t entertaining any potential buyers who can’t back up their interest with a $10mm documented net worth

While the cooperating commission is  not published my guess is about 1.0-1.5% on a sales price  around $10mm, which of course, we’d split with you if we represented you in the transaction. When I first wrote about this home, I thought it would sell for north of $12mm.  My optimism has diminished.



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