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Whether you rent or own, you can enjoy the benefits of home technology. But buying your first house is a great opportunity to take stock of what you really need—and what tech you should take from your apartment.
In theory, anything you add to a rental home is yours to take with you when you leave, but in practice, it’s not always so easy. You have a duty to repair any damage you cause, so home technology accessories like wired security cameras might realistically have to be left in place.
So, now that you have a place of your own, what kind of approach should you take to home tech?
We recommend thinking about your first home’s technology needs in terms of three words: holistic, long-term, and evolving. When you have a house of your own, you can consider what technology you’ll need (and want) long-term for your whole home, not just the areas that you were renting. You’ll also need to pay attention to your tech needs as they change over time. Do you (and, if the situation, your partner) want to get a pet? Have a child? Become an expert at video-gaming? As your home changes, your tech will need to change with you.
The most important part about getting the right home technology for your first home is setting everything up before you move in.
We can broadly divide home technology into the following four areas.
Do you want wired or wireless connections? That might seem a strange question to ask in 2020, but, believe it or not, there are still reasons to consider a wired network.
Wired connections are typically faster than wireless ones. Today’s Ethernet connections support speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second, while WiFi typically maxes out at about 1 gigabit. If you work from home, or if you are a big gamer, a wired connection may be your new best friend.
Wired connections also offer greater security, which might be something to consider, especially if you have security cameras inside your home. While you likely won’t be able to drill into the walls of a rental, you can set up some strong—and hidden—wired connections in the walls of your first home to get the maximum connectivity you need.
There are a few different facets of your entertainment experience to consider when making tech choices.
First of all, do you want a traditional cable TV hookup, or could you be one of the increasing number of cord-cutters who opt for online streaming subscriptions instead? Be sure to check for any bundle deals your internet service provider may offer to shave down your monthly bill.
Moving into your own place can also be a good time to consider what kind of entertainment setup you want. It might be a bit unconventional, but we recommend opting for a projector instead of a TV. They aren’t always practical in a rental situation, but in your own place, you’re free to bolt projectors to the ceiling and fit pull-down or motorized screens. Projectors give you a lot more bang for your buck in terms of screen size, the Wall Street Journal says. But if a projector doesn’t fit with your new-home decor, an LED TV is a reliable and high-quality alternative.
Finally, if you’re upgrading your music system, multi-room wireless speakers are the way to go. Some high-end brands, like Naim and Sonos, have their own system, while others support standard systems like Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast. If you use streaming music services like Apple Music and Spotify, many speakers come with built-in support. Opt for smart speakers like Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, and you also get the ability to control other smart home technology like lighting and heating.
Smart lighting typically uses LED bulbs, which are far cheaper to run than traditional incandescent ones. In addition, you can get color-changing bulbs with all the benefits of smart tech: remote control from a smartphone or smartwatch, or control via voice commands to a smart speaker. Automation can make your life easier, switching lights on automatically via motion-detectors or presence-detection, such as activating them when your smartphone comes into range as you arrive home.
Moving into your first house is a great time to beef up your HVAC. Nest is the best-known smart thermostat, while other well-known brands are Hive, Honeywell, Tado, and Ecobee. These devices can learn your routines, switching on your heating or AC system as you approach home and then off again when you leave. Some systems let you set different temperatures in different rooms. Generally, you only need to buy a smart thermostat to control your existing system, but some products do require additional kits if you want room-specific temperatures.
You might also consider smart blinds that help regulate heat in rooms, as well as provide the convenience of automatically opening when it’s time to get out of bed.
Don’t know where to start? Think about which aspects of home tech are most important to you and prioritize accordingly. The most important part about getting the right home technology for your first home is setting everything up before you move in. Measure your new home. Pick accessories out with your family. Wire up your walls if need be. Identify what you need to set up your home office. The effort ahead of time will be worth it when you move into a fully connected home that’s all yours.
Wondering what smart home devices could work for your needs—or maybe need some extra help troubleshooting existing devices? With a Support.com TechSolutions subscription, you can have an expert Tech Pro on-call to help with all the devices in your new home—any issue, any time.