Home Tech I’m a new homeowner and here’s how to BYO a smart home

I’m a new homeowner and here’s how to BYO a smart home

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Large digital box fixed to the ceiling of a garage that controls the door

I was surprised by how many smart home products were included. My builder gave us the option of installing even more devices during the construction process, which would have cost almost $2,000 for a handful of door sensors, two motion sensors, a siren, and two control panels. We opted not to participate. I figured I could easily set these up for less than half that price with a pair of Echo Hubs (8/10, WIRED recommended).

I was pleasantly surprised to find that we included so much smart home equipment at no extra charge. Of course, our builder didn’t mention this or offer any devices I wanted, like a smart doorbell. But while I like some of the equipment that came with my house, I would have liked the opportunity to compare prices or say no to some of the products they chose.

Garage grandeur

My favorite device is easy: the MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener ($289). The only reason I didn’t set this up the first day was because I had to wait for my Eeros to turn on (my builder included a service to do this, but I should have done it myself). I needed a strong enough Wi-Fi signal in the garage. MyQ is great because you also don’t need a hub and has a handy little QR code to direct you to the app download. There’s a built-in camera you can use for security (although there are also subscription fees for video storage and better notifications).

Photography: Nena Farrell

If you have multiple users, one person will need to set up MyQ and then invite other family members via email. My husband was faster than me as we ran to finish the setup, so MyQ is in her name and invited me to enter the app. Boom, I was ready. We were both able to easily control the garage without any further steps or problems. The app shows us if the garage is open or closed and we can both control it from anywhere.

Front door problems

On the other side of my house, I have a device I hate: a Kwikset smart lock. It makes me really miss my old Abode Smart Lock (8/10, WIRED recommends).

My Kwikset smart lock has been a pain from the moment we received the keys. Is a Kwikset smart key, so it should be easy to change the door key, but neither my husband nor I could get it to work. No matter, you should always purchase new locks and keys when purchasing a new home. We thought we’d ignore the key issue and just use the smart features in the meantime.

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