Smart Homes for Snowbirds

What is a smart home?

A smart home is one that utilizes automation and the latest in technology to provide the home owner with comfort, security, efficiency, and convenience, whether you’re home or away.  Think of a home where appliances, lights, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, audio & video systems, security, and camera systems are all able to communicate with one another.  Or where you are able to interact and control them via your smart phone or tablet.  Or where they are able to email you detailed reports providing updates on their current operational status or a history of their use over the past week.  Imagine a home that is able to learn your lifestyle preferences and automatically adjust itself to help your family live in comfort, while optimizing efficiency to lower your utility bills.  This is what a smart home is all about.

Most homes do not already have the appliances and systems built into them to be considered a smart home.  In many cases, however, it is relatively easy and affordable for the home owner to retrofit smart products in to their home.

What kind of devices would you find in a smart home?

Lighting.  Controlling your home’s lighting is one of the easiest places to start when transitioning to a smart home.  There are many affordable starter kits that will allow you to utilize home automation in just minutes.

Security.  Installing a DIY wireless home security system to keep your family safe is simpler than ever.  Many systems combine control with this security, providing an added convenience.

Audio & Video.  Controlling your entertainment system with home automation is easy.  With the touch of a button on one remote control or your smartphone, the lights can be dimmed and your home theater and audio system can be ready to watch a movie with the sound set just the way you like it.

Climate Control.  Your home’s temperature can be programmed and controlled remotely, helping you save energy and money.  When starting a smart home project, this is where I would begin.  Read more about the Nest Learning Thermostat to find out why.

Why should a snowbird own a smart home?

Convenience.  This is one of the biggest reasons that you should consider retrofitting, building, or purchasing a smart home.  The remote access to all of your home’s connected features allow you to monitor and control your home from afar.  If you’re still up north and you want to check in on your winter home, it can be done quickly and easily by checking an app on your phone.

Security.  Advanced security features such as network linked cameras and motion sensors that can communicate automatically with the police or a private security company provide an extra level of comfort for snowbirds who will be splitting time living between two homes.  Additionally, smart homes may also make use of key cards or fingerprint identification in place of conventional locks to make it more difficult for someone to break in.

Accessibility.  We’re all going to get older.  This is just a fact of life.  Owning a smart home, however, can provide accessibility features that can help make life easier for elderly or disabled residents.  Voice-activated systems will help the owner control lighting, lock doors, use a computer, or operate a telephone.  In addition, labor-intensive tasks like watering the lawn or flower beds can be performed automatically with home automation.

Resale.  Automating a home can attract buyers and increase a home’s market value, since it will have an abundance of effective selling points.  Homes with automated systems have the potential to sell for much more than similar homes with conventional technologies.

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