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How to make your home a smart home

A smart home can provide a more comfortable, safer space for your family. Here are the home upgrades that can help you create one.

Anna Baluch
December 21, 2023
Updated:

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If you’re looking for a way to make life easier, a smart home may be the ultimate solution. With a smart home, you can control a variety of systems from your backyard, office, or just about anywhere. As a result, your smart home can bring convenience, security, and entertainment to you and your family. Below, we’ll dive deep into how you can transform your home into a smart home.

How to make your home a smart home

A smart home is not a one-size-fits-all home improvement. In fact, smart technology is highly versatile, meaning you can craft a home that meets your unique needs, wants, and preferences. Depending on the devices you adopt, you can increase safety and comfort in your home. Similarly, other integrations can help you improve your home's energy efficiency, reduce utility costs, or even lower your homeowners insurance.  

If you’re ready to begin leveraging smart technology, here’s how to start:

Choose a smart home automation hub

A smart hub is designed to connect and communicate cross-functionally with all of the smart appliances in your home. It lets you control everything through a single interface, so you don’t have to switch between apps. 

Since it collects data from all your devices, you can easily see and manage everything happening in your home in one place. You can also create automation routines and rules so that your devices interact with one another based on specific conditions. For example, you can automate the lights turning off every time you leave the house. 

Two primary smart hubs are available: a standalone hub and a voice assistant hub. Standalone hubs use connectivity options, such as wifi or Bluetooth, to seamlessly integrate your technology. They offer a simple interface, like an online dashboard or app, to monitor and control your devices. Voice assistant hubs, as the name suggests, provide a virtual assistant you can speak to, 

Here are three of the most popular options for voice assistant smart hubs that you might want to explore: 

Google Home

The greatest benefit of Google Home is Google Assistant. Google Assistant is a voice assistant that understands and accurately responds to any simple or complex questions or directions you may have — like “find me a recipe and dim the lights.” 

Not only does it have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, but it’s also compatible with many smart home devices from various manufacturers. You can purchase a Google Home hub for anywhere from $49 to $299 — depending on the model you choose — and there is no monthly subscription.

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa is another affordable smart hub option that includes Alexa voice assistant. You can say things like “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights” or “Alexa, play music,” to trigger commands. However, Alexa can only respond to one command at a time, so you’ll have to be mindful of making requests.

Its most appealing aspect is its ability to support countless smart devices that may not be compatible with Google Home and other hubs — such as the June Oven, Samsung High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer, and Yoolax Motorized Blind Blackout Shades. Alexa will run you between $30 to $200 to get started but doesn’t charge monthly fees.

Apple HomeKit

If you're a loyal Apple user and use an iPhone or Mac computer, the Apple HomeKit could make sense. However, it doesn't support as many smart home devices from third-party manufacturers as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. It also requires you to purchase devices through Apple.

On the bright side, it's extremely secure, easy to set up, and allows all the connected devices to operate seamlessly. Siri is Apple HomeKit's voice assistant, which sounds more robotic than Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa but still allows you to control several devices through voice commands. Apple HomeKit has a starting price of $299 and no monthly subscription. 

smart-home-hub

Install smart home devices and systems

You can invest in a wide range of smart devices and systems for your home. Several of these include: 

Lighting

Smart lighting lets you control and customize your lights conveniently from anywhere. Depending on the device, you can set timers and schedules for when lights turn on and off. An added benefit is that programmable lighting can help you use less electricity and become more efficient. Here are a few lighting products you may benefit from: 

  • Smart LED light bulbs: With these bulbs, you don’t need a traditional wall switch. Instead, you use built-in software to automate or control them remotely. Most smart LED bulbs are dimmable and a breeze to set up. 
  • Smart switches: Smart switches never require a manual turn-off. Instead, they follow commands and automate your lighting needs. They’re a good option for lights in areas that are hard to reach.

Thermostats

Unlike traditional thermostats, which require you to manually adjust the temperature in your home, smart thermostats can be programmed to adjust the temperature automatically based on your schedule, habits, and preferences. For example, if you’re away at work from 9 to 5, a smart thermostat can help you optimize the temperature. As a result, it can help you keep your home warm in the winter and cool during the summer months so that you always return to a comfortable abode. It can also turn off your heater or cooler when you’re out of town, saving energy and reducing your heating and cooling costs. 

The Ecobee is one example of a smart thermostat that is compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. It offers an air quality sensor and doubles as a home security device. Another popular option is the Nest, which supports all three smart home hubs and features a sleek design as well as a furnace monitor and geofencing support. 

Security systems

Safety is of utmost importance no matter where you live —that’s where smart home security systems come in. A smart camera allows you to watch the outside and inside of your home, even if you’re running errands or out of town. You can opt to receive a notification any time it detects motion and interact with the people in front of your camera from a smartphone app. 

Smart locks are a worthwhile consideration, as you can lock and unlock your door remotely. Additionally, you can assign unique passcodes for your children, guests, or hired individuals, like cleaning professionals. 

Smart doorbells offer another way to enhance your home security. They can notify you of who came by when you weren’t at home and provide valuable video and audio footage in the unfortunate event of a break-in.

Irrigation system

With a smart irrigation system, you can keep your lawn and garden in tip-top shape while conserving water year-round. This type of system collects data about local soil and weather conditions and calculates how much water your property needs to function optimally. You can count on a smart irrigation system to adjust to your particular water requirements automatically and, in turn, help you reduce your water usage. It’s well worth the investment if you want to avoid overwatering and underwatering without much thought.

Kitchen and appliances

There are a plethora of smart kitchen appliances that can automate various tasks to make meal prep and cooking a breeze. A few examples of smart kitchen appliances you might find helpful include: 

  • Smart refrigerator: A smart fridge can keep tabs on what's inside, helping you save on groceries and reduce food waste. You can also use it to monitor internal issues — like airflow problems — so you can fix them before they become costly repairs. 
  • Smart oven: With a smart oven, you can preheat your oven, adjust cooking temperatures, and set timers from anywhere. This way, you can start and keep an eye on your meals, even when you’re not in the kitchen.
  • Smart coffee maker: A smart coffee maker allows you to turn your coffee machine on or off remotely. Additionally, you can customize it to meet your unique brewing preferences. 
  • Smart microwaves: A smart microwave lets you scan the barcode of the package and allow the microwave to cook it according to the manufacturer's exact directions. You can warm up meals without much thought or guesswork.

The average cost of smart home remodeling

The cost to turn your home into a smart home depends on the devices you choose and how “smart” you’d like your home to be. Small upgrades, such as smart doorbells, can cost $300-$600, whereas larger upgrades, like a smart refrigerator, can run anywhere from $2,000-$5,000.

Automating every aspect of your home will be more costly than upgrading a select few features. According to research from HomeAdvisor, it can cost up to $15,000 to fully automate a four-bedroom, three-bath home. Fortunately, there are many ways to finance your smart home renovations if you don’t have the cash on hand. 

smart-technology

Final thoughts

A smart home can make your life easier and your home safer. If you’re looking for a way to cover the cost of it, consider tapping into your home equity.

Point’s Home Equity Investment (HEI) can provide you with the funds to support your home automation needs. There are no monthly payments or need for perfect credit.  

No income? No problem. Get a home equity solution that works for more people.

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