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With all the changes that appear each season in terms of the latest home improvement projects, it’s difficult to know which ones will be worth the investment.

With the emergence of smart home technology, more and more homeowners have consistently added these types of features into their improvement plans. 

So, what is smart technology, what are the benefits of having it in your home and how can you afford these additions?

Read on for some helpful tips to consider when planning out your next home renovation. 

What is smart technology?

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Smart technology is a fairly new fad in the home improvement industry that aids people in completing often mundane day-to-day tasks that could otherwise be automated.

Typically, these systems are supported by interconnected devices that are compatible with each other.

Most of these gadgets are powered by the internet and require a stable signal in order to function properly. 

There are many areas of the home that can be improved with smart technology.

While some require much more time and effort than others, assessing which alterations you feel would be useful to your home is the first step in determining if smart home improvements are right for you.

Which improvements are worth the investment?

Many homeowners would argue that there are certain undertakings that are more profitable than others when it comes to dishing out cash to improve your property.

Some things you should take into account before making improvements are the cost to achieve your desired result, the amount of time it takes to complete the project and the estimated monetary value you will gain back when it comes time to sell your home.

Other things you should keep in mind when introducing smart technology into your home are current product trends and their eventual effect on the aesthetic appeal once installed.

Certain products are thought to be all the rage now. But in the future, their limited functionality may become evident when you are stuck with a piece of machinery that you barely use.

To get a better read on the tried and true frontrunners of the smart home technology market, take a look at the following to see if they’re the right addition for you:


Security Solutions

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Cost: medium to high

Ease to install/operate: low to medium

A safe home is a necessity to your overall well-being and after all, can you really put a price on peace of mind?

The short answer: yes, you can.

That’s the thought when it comes to home security systems as many companies will try to cash in on fear by selling you overly complicated packages. 

Before exploring your options, take a personal inventory of what you think you need.

This will give you a better understanding of what’s available and how it will help you keep your home safe.

Most DIY security systems include packages ranging from the bare necessities to all the bells and whistles.

The positive here!

Saving money on sizable service costs and a much easier time when receiving products through the mail.

You should also consider your ability level when it comes to troubleshooting technology.

If you’re less confident in your capability to install the products yourself, you may want to speak with a reputable home security company that will situate the equipment for you.

Keep in mind though that going through a major company is likely to spur a much heftier monthly fee and subscription plan in order to keep the equipment running smoothly.


Alternative Energy Sources

Cost: high

Ease to install/operate: high

While this can seem like an eco-upgrade, there are also plenty of options out there that include home technology features like seeing your energy savings directly on your smartphone.

From solar panels to wind power, your quest for renewable energy starts with evaluating what may be right for your home based on its geographical location and the average electricity loads. 

By getting a better idea of how much energy you actually consume, you can save money on the backend of the system install by ensuring that you’re not purchasing something that doesn’t fit your needs.

You also need to account for local codes and requirements when it comes to small renewable energy systems.

This includes building codes, local covenants/ordinances and technology-specific requirements.

Determine the scope of work before breaking ground so you are able to accommodate the individual needs for these types of smart home improvements.


Home Automation Systems

Cost: low to medium

Ease to install/operate: low to medium

Home automation systems can be as easy as plugging a virtual assistant into the wall or as difficult as replacing each light bulb in your home to ones with smart features.

The best thing about home automation is that it can be as in-depth or lackadaisical as you see fit.

The main thing to note is the effort you will put in if you decide to rewire your entire home to fit smart capabilities.

You should also review the amount of time it takes you to accumulate all the features you want in your home since there are many options to choose from.

While somewhat time-consuming, this is definitely the most affordable option with the quickest turnaround time when it comes to installation.

If you’re just getting into the smart tech product line, home automation is typically the best way to start!


How can I finance these improvements?

When it comes to crunching the numbers, some improvements may not make sense at the end of the day.

However, if you feel passionate about moral issues like your impact on the environment and the effect your carbon footprint can have on the planet, you can always go with your gut and find other means of financing improvement should extra money not be available at the time. 

While the heavier lifts seem unattainable at the moment, planning your finances out so you can better allocate funds to more expensive projects is still a possibility.

To help, here’s some information when financing smart home technology improvements:

  • Home Equity Loan (HEL): Did you know that you can borrow from your home’s equity and receive a lump sum of cash to help finance home improvements? Finally, handing over those mortgage bills each month will pay off. However, there are some components to consider before inquiring about HELs. To start, you must have already paid up to 20% and at least 15% of your home’s estimated value. Also, keep in mind that your home is the collateral you offer when you are approved for your loan. Therefore, if you default on payments, your home could go into foreclosure. Do your research to see if getting a home equity loan makes sense for your specific situation before reaching out to your mortgage lender. 
  • Personal Loan: While interest rates are typically lower for HELs, the prerequisites for getting a personal loan are much more lenient. If you haven’t built enough stake in terms of home equity, or you have a lower credit score, this may be the best option for you. You can also have clearer terms set for a repayment plan that better fit your budget. By having a shorter repayment term, you could save big time even if other loans have a lower interest rate.
  • Grants: Home improvement is something that many towns and municipalities will reward in order to improve the quality of life of their community. Government funding could be available to help finance your home improvement project. The main objectives of these government grant programs are to better energy-efficiency and lower the total cost of homeownership for residents. Reach out to your local nonprofit housing and community development organization to see what type of options would be available for your next smart home investment.