As we talked about in our last blog post about Smart Homes, the real estate world is buzzing about smart home technology. If you’ve been thinking about trying out some smart tech of your own, think about starting with a smart home security system like the Canary – it’s the #1 smart home upgrade for a reason!
Here are the answers to a few common questions about smart security to get you started. If you need a quick primer on smart technology, try last month’s blog post here.
What is smart security?
“Smart Security” can be a confusing term, since people use it for many different things- everything from simple webcams all the way up to professionally installed whole-home systems like those offered by Comcast or ADT. If you’re interested in one of these professional systems, there are plenty of resources available, your realtor likely even has a couple recommendations for you! Today, however, we’re going to talk about simpler, DIY smart security components that you can install and use right now.
That said, we still haven’t answered your question! Let’s get to it: smart security includes all the standard components of a home security system- cameras, motion detectors, lights, door locks, etc- but with a twist. Typically, a “smart” version is connected wirelessly, either to other devices in the home, to your smartphone, or both. This allows for remote control functionality as well as the ability to learn your daily routine for worry-free security.
What can it do for me?
These devices offer some significant benefits over standard security components- let’s talk about a few of the major ones:
Obviously, the goal of any security system is to protect your home and your belongings. Smart security systems offer the same deterrence benefits of a standard system, but with some unique enhancements, like the ability to cycle lights on and off in order to present the appearance of someone being home. With most home burglaries occurring while residents are at work or school, an important part of deterrence is simply making it look like you’re home!
Monitor from Anywhere
Speaking of being out of the house, do you ever have that nagging feeling that you need to check in on your home? Since most smart security devices are web-connected, you can monitor your home anywhere, anytime, right from your smartphone. Make sure your kids are home from school, check in on your pets, see if your package got delivered- the possibilities are endless! If an alarm goes off in your home, you’ll be alerted immediately- not just when the neighbors get tired of hearing it.
Speaking of immediate alerts, you’ll never come home to a surprise with a smart security system. You can outfit your home with a variety of sensors that detect intruders, fires, gas leaks, moisture levels, severe weather, or any number of other triggers. When you’re out of the house you can receive notifications when a smoke detector goes off or there is a severe weather alert, giving you the ability to recognize and address all possible risks at the earliest opportunity. Many systems offer a response team for monitoring and support of your home that is available 24/7.
Never Wonder if You Forgot to Lock
If you’re like me, you’ve probably headed off on vacation and suddenly wondered if you locked all the doors and windows. An active smart security system will allow you to lock your doors, turn your lights on and off from your mobile device and make sure that you’ve closed the garage door. All this boils down to convenience and, most of all, peace of mind. Perhaps the biggest benefit of a smart security system is the peace of mind you get from having control over your house whenever you need it.
Your Home Value
Of course, we wouldn’t be telling you about smart security if it wasn’t going to have a positive effect on your home value! Smart devices in the home can command an additional 3-5% increase in home value, and smart security is the most desired smart home upgrade on the market today- it’s a big plus for a potential buyer. Remember, you’ll likely be eligible for home insurance discounts by having a security system, in some cases the devices will pay for themselves!
Smart Tip 1: Choose devices from established companies, like Canary. Potential home buyers will want to know that the security system they’re purchasing will be backed by the manufacturer in the future.
How do I keep my smart security system…secure?
The benefits of smart security really are impressive, but before we move on, let’s address the elephant in the room. Studies show that the biggest concern most homeowners have about smart security is, well, keeping it secure! Fortunately, the risks of installing smart security devices can be mitigated by following these best practices:
Start with the router
What do all your smart devices have in common? The router! Yep, the little box we all forget about is your first line of defense against network breaches. Make sure you’re using a strong password (not the default!) and have upgraded to the latest firmware.
Stick with the name brands
When it comes to smart security devices, you’ll want to go with the tried and true brand names like Google, Canary or Nest. These big-name companies will stand behind their products and continue updating firmware to protect you against breaches.
Stay up to date!
With any device, make sure you’re periodically updating to the latest firmware and keeping your password secure. Most devices allow automatic updating, turn this feature on for worry-free protection.
How do I get started?
There are many ways to get into smart security, depending on your personal needs. If you want to dive in with a full pro system, ask your realtor for a local installer recommendation. If you’re more interested in a DIY solution, you have the ability to start simple by adding the components you’re comfortable with. Not everyone wants a smart door lock or motion sensing lights- maybe a fire detector or wifi camera is more your style. Adding new components to your initial devices allows you to gradually increase the sophistication of your home system.
Think about the problems you want to solve: Do you have a pet that you’d like to keep an eye on during the day? Try a web-enabled security camera. Worried about intruders? A set of door/window sensors to alert your smartphone would do the trick. Solutions for most common home security problems are available online through Amazon. Before purchasing a security device, talk to an expert about your needs or see what security devices are your neighbors are using. Which types add the most value to homes in your area? Your realtor is a great resource to answer these questions.
Smart Tip #2: Different types of security devices can increase home values in different areas. Ask your realtor what the most sought after devices are in your area!
That sounds complicated…there has to be a shortcut, right?
One useful shortcut to building a DIY system is with a device like the Canary. Canary packages several capabilities into one device- security camera, alarm system, fire detector, air monitoring and more! A device like this is a plug and play system in a box, with no worries about compatibility.
Regardless of the device you choose, remember that your new security system is a big selling point when it’s time to put your home on the market. Save the documentation and consider writing up a quick fact sheet for the new owner- they’ll be sure to appreciate it!
Want to learn more about other kinds of smart home technology? Check out our Smart Home 101 blog post here.