Imagine you are headed back to school with your kids. You arrive to your desk, put down your backpack, and take out your notebook and pencil. You are ready for the new year and are looking forward to getting started. Today’s lesson? Learning the latest in smart home technology that could get your home ready for the future. Smart home technology has been around for years, but we are just now starting to see it become an expectation for buyers. Whether your heating and air is controlled by a Nest, or your entire home is bluetooth enabled, making sure your home is smart is becoming more of a rule than an exception. Are you ready to get schooled on the latest in smart home technology? Here’s what you need to know now:

Thermostats: For many homeowners, the Nest thermostat opened a world of smart home possibilities. However, being able to control your home’s temperatures from the convenience of your couch is only the tip of the smart home iceberg. Now, other companies are elevating smart thermostats to be even more intelligent than before. Experts say the Ecobee 4 is unmatched, especially with its sleek touchscreen design, and its ability to ensure every room in your house is experiencing its optimal temperature. Keeping the Ecobee 4 even further ahead of the curve? The device has a built-in Alexa speaker. If you need to adjust cooler or hotter, simply ask Alexa to help you out.

Locks and Doorbells: Gone are the days of having to look through a tiny peephole to discover who is knocking on your door. The way of the future is camera-enabled locks and doorbells that allow you to not only see a visitor but speak to them, too. Systems like Ring help you keep an eye on your front door even when you’re miles away from home. Locks are also becoming smart-enabled. In fact, the August Smart Lock allows keyless access to your home through an app. With August, you can control who enters your home and when.

In Wall Switches: Connected lighting like that offered by Lutron Caseta provides ease of accessibility in addition to a sense of security. Being able to turn your lights on and off through an app means never having to sleepily get out of bed to find the lightswitch again, and we call that a win. Further, connected lighting means being able to program your lights when you’re not home to appear as though you are, have the first floor switched on from the comfort of your second floor, or turn your lights off as you pull out of your driveway to head to work. The possibilities are endless and security is only one side of the coin. Smart lighting provides energy efficiency, controlled functionality, and more flexibility.

Garage Door Openers: Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: it’s pouring down rain. You’re in your driveway, but instead of going inside, you’re digging through your console or your bag looking for your garage door opener. Yes, the same one that is supposed to be inside the quaint compartment your car provides for it. Somehow, it’s never in its spot. Smart garage door openers, like Chamberlain, allow you to open the garage with a tap of your smart phone. Soon enough, geofencing capabilities will allow smart garages to sense when your car is near by and open automatically. That elusive opener will never taunt you again.

Smart home technology doesn’t mean adding expensive bells and whistles just for the sake of it, but it does mean looking towards the future and embracing small, manageable changes. We recommend adding features that make your life easier and make you feel comfortable. Make gradual changes that intrigue and inspire you, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions about what to implement. As these technologies become more popular, we can only imagine they will continue to be more prominent in homes as well as buyer expectation. Will your home be be head of the class?