11 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Smart Home

Beginner Info

tips for smart home beginners
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As a smart home consultant, I’ve come across quite a few people on a regular basis who wants to make their homes smart.

Well, nothing is wrong with it.

However, a piece of sound knowledge about smart homes can help them to avoid lots of mistakes.

Avoiding the mistake is directly proportional to saving money.

In this post, I’ll discuss 11 tips that may change your life, and also save you a tangible amount of money.

All these tips are the outcomes of my professional journey to date.

By means of this post, I would like to thank all my clients who added to my success as well as failure.

I treat failure as a twin brother of success without which success isn’t SUCCESS.

Let me walk you through my professional journey.

Being honest, I worked very hard still my first client wasn’t happy.

There was numerous reason for the disaster.

Later on, I did the analysis, and the findings were mind-boggling.

Today I’ll try to cover all the points that can shatter your dream of a smart home.

If you’re a newbie and you’re planning to make your home smart, then let me tell you, in the starting, you’ll NOT at all have any clue about what you are doing.

I always recommend my clients to spend some time on the options they have, and also to do some research before coming to a conclusion.

If you’re well aware of your requirements and the options, the majority of the problem will take the back seat.

For example, smart security systems, smart household appliances, smart refrigerators will help you to negotiate better with the vendors as well as the smart home consultant that you’ll hire for the project.

At the initial stage of the project, you’ll have loads of queries in your mind. Don’t worry, with the time they will fade away.

Some examples of the query are as follows:

How do smart devices connect together?

Should I use the voice assistant to control smart devices? If yes, then which voice assistant.

How secure is the entire set up?

There can be numerous questions that I can list out here, but that isn’t my intention.

I simply want you to get a taste of it.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive deep in tips that you need to follow to negate the damage as a newbie.

Plan the Project

There are many ways to automate a home.

So, it is advisable to make a list of all the items that you need to replace with the upgraded versions.

For example, you may feel like replacing household appliances with smart counterparts.

You can spend some time looking around and figuring out the things that you would like to get automated.

Are you confused?

Well, segregate your home into different parts such as living rooms, bathrooms, garage, basement, and many more.

Once you’ve jotted down all the points in a piece of paper, you can have a discussion with your family members on all the points to get more clarity.

You can also take help of online research.

As a reference, you can also take help from your colleagues and neighbors who already have smart homes or devices.

The most thing is that you’ll have to initiate the conversation.

Without initiating the conversation, how will you know that your friends and well-wishers are having a smart device?

Improvise Your Research

If you aren’t concerned about money, then you may skip the research.

But if you’re the one who has a limited budget like me, then it’s always better to do some research.

For example, if you’re planning to install a smart security camera outside your house, then do some research on how the people have installed the product and what all additional accessories are needed.

In the layman language, if you’re planning to buy a smart security camera, then the best approach would be to do some homework and find out whether the camera that you’ve in your mind the correct choice or not. 

Even after years of experience in this domain, I still do extensive research.

Recently I bought Blink XT home security cameras, but I didn’t make the decision overnight, I consulted a few of my friends and asked their opinion.

Finally, I listed down all the references and selected two of them which were highly recommended.

Again, I went online and did some research on both the shortlisted product before taking a final call.

I can’t deny the fact that after so much research also the decision can be wrong.

However, the probability of being wrong drastically reduces.

Here, I would like to throw some light on a very common misconception, ”

The more the product cost the better the product will be”.

In the smart device’s domain, it doesn’t work that way.

If you’re skeptical about the place where you can find the information about the product, then allow me to help you.

You can find product reviews on websites, youtube, and other social media channels.

Today there are loads and loads of social influencer out there who do the work with a high level of credibility.

 Even Amazon has a good number of customers reviews for almost every product.

You just need to spend some time reading the reviews.

Even some vendors have forums on their websites where you can find tons of information related to the product.

Make Your Next Move Smartly

I always recommend the newbies to start with the Smart Home Hub.

Again, there are quite a few of them, and every one of them claims they are better than their counterparts.

You can consider Samsung SmartThings Hub, Wink Hub, the Wink 2 Hub, etc.

I generally prefer these three products to my clients, I’ve realized over time that these are some value for money products.

If you’re thinking that why I didn’t recommend the Amazon Echo or Google Home, then let me tell you they are better known as a voice assistant, and they are a lot different as compared to the Hubs.

However, with some minimal modification, you can use them as Hub because it will automatically integrate the voice control.

There are also Hubs on the market that specifically controls a section of your house.

Harmony Smart Control Hub is a good example as it is primarily used to control the entertainment system.

The Smart Home Hub is grabbing everyone’s eyeball.

The reason I’m saying this is because I’ve seen many clients coming to me with a related query.  

There are also clients who prefer Hubless Smart Home products.

However, If you’ve got a decent budget, then I’ll recommend you to go with Samsung SmartThings Hub.

Needless to say, they have one of the widest variety of smart home products compatible with their system.

Buying the Cheapest May Not Be the Best Decision

I have a firm belief in the adage, ” you get what you pay for”?. 

I’m sure you’ve also heard it a couple of times, and it holds very true in the smart devices category.

I love experimenting and I’ll not deny the fact that I’ve tried a lot many Smart Home Hubs and devices just to offer my clients the best product for the money.

Some of the trials were literally good, but many were a failure as well.

I’ll not deny that I’ve wasted a lot of money on cheap and cheesy products, but it’s a part and parcel of life.

To find out something amazing to offer to your clientele, you’ve to pay the price, isn’t it?

I ordered a few good looking products ONLINE, but when the product was delivered to my doorstep, it was nowhere near to what I saw on the e-commerce website.

Anyways, I can’t take the credit from the photographers 🙂

When I began my career as a Smart Home Consultant, most of my clients were SME’s.

Needless to say, they were highly sensitive about the price. Personally, I tried a couple of cameras before  Blind XT.

This camera setup cost me almost twice because I was happy with the uninterrupted performance of Blind XT.

If I look back, I find myself wasting more money on cheap products rather than trying the one which has loads of good reviews and ratings.

I give high priority to word of mouth publicity.

Nowadays, every next day some or other smart products are getting launched.

So, for me to keep a track of all the product isn’t possible.

However, I’ve fixed a certain budget to try new and innovative products.

There has been a paradigm shift in my choice.

I prefer to experiment with reliable and branded product now.

After all, life is a journey, and we need to learn, correct the mistakes, and move on.

Be Patient: Take Your Time

As a smart home enthusiast, you need to take your own time to understand the various parameters related to the field.

If you are a newbie, you need to work a few months on strengthening the basics.

After you’ve put the initial efforts, wait for some time to start seeing the positive response.

As a Smart Home Consultant, I’ve to struggle a lot for the first few months.

It’s not justified to refer smart household products to your clientele until you haven’t tried it.

Rome wasn’t built in a single day.

I’ve seen people buying all the things at one go. Later on, they regret having all the stuff in their basement.

When I ask them, “when are you planning to install these smart devices?”.

They immediately reply to me, “well, it will take time, and currently I don’t have time”.

There is numerous similar example that I can brag about.

Nothing good comes easy

As a smart home beginner, buy one or two product at a time.

It will not only give you the required initial push but will also help you with what works for you and what not works.

For example, when you’re buying a Smart Home Hub, buy a product to use it as well. It may not need to be a costly affair.

You can buy a couple of windows and doors sensors, and see how they perform.

Moreover, you can even opt for a more progressive project like smart lightening.

Whatever you plan and you do, never rush to complete the project.

As a smart home beginner, it is very important to lay a strong foundation.

Try Multiple E-commerce Websites

When it comes to buying smart products, try different websites and outlets.

The price of these products is fluctuating a lot on different e-commerce websites.

For example, I recently got a 50% off on a smart product, but the offer was only for that day.

Keeping an eye on these websites can help you to save really good money.

Other than Amazon, some websites where you can check the price are Walmart, Best Buy or Target.

However, most of the time, I find great deals on Amazon.

We all know how popular is the Black Friday Deal.

Returning Spree

I’ll not deny that fact that there are loads and loads of reasons why smart home beginners end up returning products.

It may be the color they don’t like, it may be an installation issue, it may haven’t fit well, it wasn’t the same as shown on the websites. 

In fact, there can be numerous logical as well as illogical reasons to return a product.

I will privilege to share with you an idiosyncratic incidence.

We are a member of Amazon Prime, and a few months back my husband felt like returning a smart device.

He called the concerned person about the returning process, and they said to keep it, we will send you another one.

Where else can it happen other than Amazon? 

This is called “Word of Mouth” publicity, and if the company is successful in keeping the customer happy, then you know what the customers will not ONLY come again but will bring others also along with them.

Don’t Ignore Product Manual

As a Smart Home beginner, you may not enjoy spending time with the manual.

Personally, reading the manual of a smart product was something that I want to have last on the priority list.

Unfortunately, things don’t work that way. Understanding a smart home device is as important as buying the correct product.

Whether it is product installation or exploring the product features, everywhere you’ll feel the need for a well-written manual.

Rather than asking for professional help, you can explore the manual.

Most of the product manuals cover all the necessary things.

For example, you may bring a product home for some specific purpose, but it is equally beneficial to use the nascent features of the product for some other purposes.

You may not believe my words but it is true that most of the smart device can do way more than we think.

 Well, right now is the time when most of the companies are launching innovative products every now and then, and not knowing the product correctly can be more of a pain than a blessing.

In short, spend some time with the manual to know your product better.

Privacy and Security Concerns

As a Smart Home enthusiast, you may have question-related to security and privacy.

I’ll accept that when I started a few years back, I too had similar concerns.

However, You’ll have to accept that there are privacy concerns for all the products that are connected to the internet.

After watching this video, you’ll know why I’m less worried about privacy.

But it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any security concern.

Anything can be hacked. The best thing that you can do is to take preventive measures against the hackers.

After all, no one will want to wake up in the middle of the night with smoke alarm turned on for no reason. 

Prevention is better than cure

Money Saved is Money Earned

Whether you’re a Smart Home Beginner or Pro, there isn’t any doubt that you’ll NOT love to save money.

Automated light will save you money. Under the normal usage conditions, it will not cost you more than 2 cents per LED light bulb.

Well, lightning isn’t perhaps the thing that you should look for while saving the money.

If you’ve kids, then you’ll not have to yell at them every time for switching off the light because it shuts off automatically.

For me, the real money shavers are household appliances like Ecobee thermostats.

Though they will cost you money upfront still in the long run, they are worth every penny spent.

Within an epigrammatic span of time, you’ll find a reduction in your gas bill.

After all, money can only make only, isn’t it?

The good news is that many power and gas companies will provide you with energy credits if you’ve bought a smart thermostat.

Recently, I saw one gas company providing free thermostats of a particular brand.

It’s addictive and enticing, isn’t it?

A Green Environment for the Future Generation

It’s really important to be mindful as a Smart Home Beginner.

A piece of elementary information will help to avoid any complications related to the Smart Home.

However, you need to be wary of the distance that your product will be from the Wi-Fi router.

An old brick building, old copper wiring, etc are some of the building materials that may hinder the signal to your router.

So, if you’re meticulous towards the basics, then you can look for a suitable place in your smart home from where the router may perform better.

Sometimes you may need to buy a new router and some access points that may transmit a better signal through the walls.


I appreciate your time and effort in building a smart home and reading this piece of information.

Trust me, it will be one of the most fun things that you’ll ever do.

It’s a humble request if you find this article interesting, then share it with your friends and colleagues.

Last but not least, you can also have a look at some of the interesting articles related to the Smart Home Guide on this blog.

Do you know about the unique things that you can do with Alexa?

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