8 Gadgets to Make Your Home Smart

PC Magazine

P: PC Magazine

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners, and it’s no wonder since this tech is designed to make our lives easier and less stressful. Out for the night and forget to turn off the lights? Not a problem, just open an app on your phone and shut the lights off. At the grocery store and can’t remember if you need milk? Open an app and see what’s in your fridge.

From appliances and electronics to tech that controls lighting and temperature, here are our 8 favorite smart home products:

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch – Probably the simplest way to ease yourself into smart home technology is with this WiFi enabled switch. Just plug the switch into an outlet and then plug and electronic device or appliance into the switch. You can then monitor and turn your appliances and electronic devices on or off from an app on your smartphone.

P: Digital Spy

P: Digital Spy

Nest Learning Thermostat – It only takes a week for this thermostat to learn what temperature you like and it will build a schedule around yours. It knows when you’re away and will automatically lower the temp to save energy. You can control the house temp from an app on your smartphone and the app will also show you how much energy you use each day.

August Smart Lock Homekit Enabled – Never copy a key again! With this smart lock, your smartphone is your key and you can create virtual keys for your family and guests, choosing when to grant them access. Your door will auto-lock behind you when you leave and will auto-unlock when you approach. The August Home app lets you monitor who enters your house 24/7.

Phillips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit – You can set timers to turn lights on and off, as well as control light color and brightness from an app on your phone. The system also works with the Nest Thermostat, when Nest senses you have left the house, the lights will automatically dim.

P: CNN Money

P: CNN Money

Amazon Echo – This voice-activated smart home speaker can play your music just by asking. You can ask Alexa to read the news, weather, sports scores,  or you can simply ask her any question. Maybe the best feature is that Amazon Echo is compatible with most smart home devices, so you can ask Alexa to lock the doors, turn off the lights, or turn up the heat!

GE Profile Free-Standing Gas Convection Range – The WiFi Connect allows you to preheat the oven and adjust the oven temp from anywhere via the GE Kitchen app on your smartphone. You can also set timer alerts for when you are baking. GE WiFi Connect also integrates with Amazon Echo so you can ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 350.

P: Samsung

P: Samsung

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator – You’ll always know what’s in your fridge thanks to the 3 built-in cameras that take a photo every time the doors close, so when you’re grocery shopping you can access the app to see what you need to pick up. You can keep track of everyone’s schedule, post reminders, and show off your favorite photos on the refrigerator’s touchscreen. Entertain guests in the kitchen with streaming music or TV right on your fridge!

Whirlpool Smart Top Load Washer & Dryer – Control your laundry from anywhere with the Whirlpool app. Put a load in the dryer but heading out to run some errands? Activate Wrinkle Shield from your smartphone to help keep wrinkles from setting in. You can remotely start and pause cycles, as well as track progress and energy usage from the app. The Smart Top Load pair also connects to the Nest Thermostat.

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The Best Apps To Help With Your House Hunt

In today’s increasingly mobile world, there’s usually an app for that – and house hunting is no exception! Want to see homes for sale nearby? Find out what you can actually afford? Keep track of the pros and cons of the homes you’ve seen? Here are our top picks of apps to simplify the home buying process:

Buyer AppsBankrate Mortgage App: Lusting over million dollar properties? Perhaps it’s time to get realistic and see what that new home will cost you. This app is great for calculating monthly mortgage payments with easy-to-use sliders to adjust the loan amount, term, and interest rate. It also provides a pie-chart to see how your total monthly payment is broken down. If you are seriously looking to purchase a home, you should see about getting pre-approved to know exactly what your budget is.

Doorsteps Swipe: It’s like the Tinder of the real estate world – swipe to “like” and the listings will be saved to your account. The app provides stats on the homes you’ve saved so you can see what your type really is and what is most important to you in a new home.

House Hunter: This app allows you to keep track of and compare all of the homes you’ve seen. Start by scoring home features on a scale of 0-10 by importance to you, then the app will give each home a score based on your criteria. You can also add your own photos and notes.

Buyer AppsKeller Williams App: Okay, so we may be a bit biased since this is our app, but it is super handy!  If you’re driving around checking out new neighborhoods to see where you may like to live, open the app and you can see all the homes for sale nearby. See something you like? Contact your agent right from the app.

AroundMe: It’s all about location! Use this app to find the closest necessities like banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.

Your agent is also a wealth of local knowledge, so if you have any questions – ask!