Technology

Keep your phone number forever or get a higher Zestimate with these 5 tech tricks

It’s so easy to be drawn into buying the latest and greatest tech. One of my goals is to give you ways to get more out of the tech you already own. Take Amazon Prime.

Tech time and money savers tend to slip under the radar. Here are five I think you will love:

1. Keep your phone number forever

Most of us have a few different cellphone numbers throughout our lives. If you need to switch to a new number, don’t let your old one go. Why?

Think about everything tied to your number. You have likely signed up for many services over the years using it. Your cellphone number is connected to your bills, and it gets two-factor authentication codes to let you log in to various accounts.

The easiest way to keep an old number is to port it to Google Voice for a $20 fee. Just be sure to do this before you switch numbers with your carrier.

Not every provider or phone number is eligible, but it’s worth checking. You will need your account number and PIN, so have your billing account information handy.

2. Easy shortcuts to sound smarter

If you spend a lot of time writing, you already know about Grammarly, the tool that helps you fix grammar, spelling, punctuation and clarity issues. The free version of the browser extension is worth the download. The paid version, Grammarly Premium, gives you even more pointers. To save some cash, go with the annual payment option.

If you have commas and spelling down pat and need help with readability, check out Hemingway. This free online editor analyzes your writing to help you make it clearer and more understandable.

Paste a few paragraphs into the Hemingway website, and you’ll see what I mean. It highlights hard-to-read sentences, passive voice, and other mistakes that make your writing difficult to understand. The web version is free to use, but you can’t save your work. The desktop app has a one-time cost of $19.99.

Do you often struggle to find the right words? Wordtune is excellent in a pinch. Type in a sentence, and you will see several options for how you could get your message across in a different way. Try this one out next time you’re writing a difficult email or find yourself at a loss for words.

3. Know your packages are safe and sound

If you’re concerned about packages getting stolen, Amazon can give you a little extra peace of mind. One of the most popular is Amazon Key, which allows delivery drivers to drop off packages inside your gate, garage, or home.

It works through smart locks and smart garage door openers that you install. Amazon gives your delivery person access via a wireless key. In-home delivery is still paused right now due to the pandemic. To use in-garage delivery, you’ll need two things: A garage-door opener compatible with the myQ app and Prime membership.

4. Get the highest Zestimate for your home

The real estate market is on fire throughout most of the country. Even if your home is not for sale, your home likely has a basic listing on Zillow.com. The most important part of that listing is your home’s estimated value or Zestimate.

Zillow’s algorithms compare your homes to similar sales in your area. A home’s Zestimate has always been a point of contention. It’s seemingly either on the mark or too low.

Obviously, you want that Zestimate to be as high as possible. To get started, register with Zillow and claim your home. Zillow gets many home facts from public records such as lot size, square footage, and the number of bedrooms, but these numbers are not always correct.

To raise your Zestimate, make sure the listing is complete and accurate. Pay particular attention to upgrades that influence the home’s value such as a remodel, view, and extras like a pool or gated property. You can add a full description of your home along with photos and videos. Make sure you complete the section marked, “What I love about this home.”

But do be careful. Divulging pertinent details can give wannabe thieves easy access. Don’t upload a floor plan or post photos that include expensive items or security system locations.

5. Share your home movies without Facebook

I hear from callers on my national show all the time who want to share home movies without using Facebook. Uploading and sending via email is a major hassle. The solution? Set up a private YouTube channel.

It’s fast, easy, and free. When you’re ready to share, all you need to do is shoot links to your friends and family.

On YouTube, you will see two options for sharing: Private and unlisted. Private videos can only be viewed by those with whom you share a link. Unlisted means anyone could technically watch the video, but it won’t come up in search results or on your channel page.

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