Old Republic Home Protection Blog

Smart Homes on a Budget

Written by Old Republic Home Protection | Dec 4, 2017 11:11:53 PM

When you think about smart homes, do you picture homes with automated everything? Sure, there are dishwashers that alert you when you’re low on detergent and microwaves that know when your popcorn is done… but going “all in” on the internet of things can get pricey! Instead, why not dip your toe into the future of home technology by starting small? Homes with smart technology can sell faster than those without, and 54% of home buyers say they’d buy a smart home over an identical home without the included technology. Check out the following list of smart home gadgets your clients can use to upgrade their homes without spending a fortune.

Smart LED Lights: Smart LED bulbs connect to a wireless HUB, and you can control them through a smartphone app. You can schedule them to turn on when you wake up and dim before you go to bed. The HUB costs $60, and each light bulb costs about $15—but they’ll last around 22 years and they use 80% less energy than traditional bulbs, so they’ll save you money over time! GE Link and Philips Hue are two popular brands.

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Smart smoke/carbon monoxide detectors cost around $100, and they notify you on your smartphone when the alarm sounds. They’ll also send you a push notification when you need to change the batteries, so you’ll no longer have to listen to that obnoxious chirping sound. CNET.com recommends Nest Protect (made by Google) for its split-spectrum sensor technology, which has been shown to recognize fires quicker while successfully avoiding false alarms from burnt toast.

Smart Locks: These locks sync to any Bluetooth compatible smartphone. As the owner, you can use the app to grant access to your housekeepers, friends, family, house sitters, etc.

When someone with access stands in front of the door with their smartphone in their pocket, they can unlock the door by touching a sensor on the lock. You can grant these people access to the home at scheduled times, and you can revoke access whenever you’d like. Kwikset Kevo and August are both respected brands, but keep in mind that a smart lock isn't an unbreakable lock. Any home lock is nothing more than a deterrent to crime, and just as a burglar can pick a traditional lock with the right tools, an intelligent criminal could potentially hack a smart lock. They typically cost around $200, and they’re as easy to install as any deadbolt.

Security Cameras: Cameras have come down in price over the years—with some impressive models selling for under $200. Homeowners can use them for a variety of purposes, from baby monitors to video doorbells, and most allow you to stream video directly to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. CNET’s review of security cameras gives high marks to both the Nest Cam and the Skybell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell.