Gail DuBois' Blog
While ordinary light fixtures can certainly do the job, they lack the fun and pizzazz of smart lighting systems. You can’t order your basic lamp to illuminate the room in a dazzling purple hue well before you even arrive home, after all. Or turn it back off after leaving the house and realizing you left too many lights on. With smart lighting, all that and so much more is within reach, giving you more control over your home than ever before.
What is Smart Lighting?
Smart lighting is an integrated system of high-tech light fixtures that connect to an app through Wi-Fi, so you can control them remotely.
Through the app, you can do many amazing things with the lights, like:
- Select vivid hues
- Activate fun effects
- Change the brightness
- Turn them off and on
- Put the lights on a timer
Some lighting systems even use motion- and sunlight-detecting sensors to determine when to turn off and on.
Smart Lighting Benefits
With smart lighting all throughout your house, you just have to tap a few buttons in the app to make changes and even set up the lights to run on their own. Thanks to those functions, you can enjoy all the following benefits.
Optimize All Your Activities
Smart lighting makes it easier to fully enjoy all your favorite activities. Need to dim the lights for a romantic dinner? You can do that. Want to turn on a strobe light and illuminate the room with a rainbow of color? That’s possible, too. You can even turn the brightness way up to better complete tasks, like prepping food for dinner and completing craft projects.
Dazzle Your Guests
When you have guest over, you can use your lighting to set the mood and elevate all your fun activities. You can click a few buttons to turn down the lights for your movie or change the color of the lights to match your board game for the evening. Your home will quickly become the go-to spot for all your gatherings, putting you at the center of the excitement.
Increase Home Security
You can boost your home security by using smart lighting to make it look like someone is always home. You just have to use the app to put different lights on a timer to turn on and off at certain times. As the light changes occur, intruders will likely see the activity and move on their way instead of trying to break into your home.
Save Money on Electricity
By turning your lights on and off using a timer, you don’t just have to leave them on all day while you’re away. The reduced usage will likely drive down your energy bills, helping keep more money in your pocket each month. As you save money on electricity, your household will also generate a smaller carbon footprint as well.
It’s amazing how many benefits a simple smart lighting system can provide – and it’s all within reach when you buy new construction homes.
Where Smart Lighting Works Best in the Home
New home builders often put smart lighting in every room of the home to give you full control of the lights from your app. That way, you don’t have to compromise on the functionality of your house. If you’reinstalling the lighting system yourself, you could start with shared living areas only. But it won’t be long before you’re wanting smart bulbs in the bedrooms, bathrooms and even the hallways.
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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) limits how much you can borrow to buy a house. If you want to take out a mortgage that is above the limits, you have to apply for a jumbo mortgage. As of mid-2019, the limits were increased to $484,350 for most of the country. Some places – states and counties – have a higher limit of $726,525. Those areas are places that have higher home values, and include Guam, Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, among other places. Loans under those values are conforming loans, and those over are non-conforming loans.
Because jumbo loans are riskier, the applicant has to jump through more hoops to get one. The major hoop is that your credit score must be higher. Most jumbo lenders require you to have a credit score of at least 680, though some require you to have a credit score of at least 720 or higher. Jumbo loans are riskier because they are not backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, and because of the obvious — the lender is lending more money.
Additionally, your debt-to-income (DTI) must be lower than 43 percent, though some lenders will refuse to give you a jumbo loan unless your DTI is lower than 36 percent. Your debt-to-income ratio is the difference between your income and the amount you pay out in liabilities, including the mortgage.
Another common requirement of a jumbo mortgage is that you have to have cash on hand to cover a certain number of payments. Some lenders could require as much as six months of reserves.
Often, the APR on jumbo loans is higher than it is on conforming loans because of the extra risk involved in that type of loan. However, interest rates dropped in the second quarter of 2019 for jumbo loans, so you could get this type of mortgage for as low as 3.8 percent. If you are applying for a jumbo loan, be sure you check the requirements and rates of several lenders.
Jumbo Mortgage Down Payments
Previously, a lender might have required you to come up with at least 30 percent down payment for a jumbo loan. However, with the better economy, some jumbo lenders have loosened their restrictions, including lowering the amount of a down payment to as low as 10 percent. Again, if you prefer a lower down payment, shop around. You may also be forced to have private mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20 percent.
The cap on the mortgage interest deduction is $750,000, so you won’t get a large tax break on a jumbo loan. Make sure you consider that, among the other requirements as set forth above, before you fall in love with a house that requires a jumbo loan.