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A Smart Home is a Sellable Home

As technology continues to advance, real estate buyers and sellers are gravitating towards the modern conveniences of a smart home. Why? Technology upgrades are not just smart systems—they’re smart investments when buying or remodeling a home. Read on to learn how home technology systems can increase the value of a home, make that home more sellable, and open up insurance incentives available to those with home technology upgrades.

Home Tech Upgrades

According to CEPro.com, 64% of realtors say home buyers are more interested in high-tech amenities compared to just a few years ago. Smart homes sell faster than others, and with the number of smart homes on the rise it’s important to ensure your home can compete in the market.

Karen Bernardi with Coldwell Banker and owner of The Bernardi Group Residential Brokerage notes:

“In Boulder County we’re really seeing prices continue to climb. The luxury market especially has become much more competitive, especially in the $2 million plus market. As older homes are being purchased, expanded, in size, and completely redone, or scrapped completely and rebuilt the interior finishes are often a similar variation of a warm modern décor. We are seeing more and more the integration of tech features in these new homes as a way to both distinguish them from the competition, and make usability of the sophisticated new energy systems a lot simpler. Adding square footage or gourmet kitchens isn’t enough anymore for buyers in the luxury market when there are several options to choose from.”

Smart Home Renovations

In a recent survey conducted by Houzz, almost half of renovating homeowners say they are incorporating smart home devices in their remodel projects, citing the want to increase comfort and safety of their homes/families as key motivating factors. Among some of the more popular smart home upgrades are security systems, home theaters, climate control systems, and lighting features. Click through for a glimpse of what technologies renovating homeowners are turning to and why.

So how might this affect home value?

“A 2015 survey by Better Homes and Gardens reported that 68% of Millennials surveyed think that smart home technology is a good investment for their homes, and a recent study of buyers’ trends by the National Association of Realtors found this demographic represents the largest share of potential homebuyers.” (Click through for the story.) As of 2016, 33% of Coldwell Banker agents agreed that houses with smart home features sell faster, up dramatically from previous years. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, smart home technologies might offer the ideal solution to make your home stand out in the crowd.

Insurance Incentives for Smarter Homes

The home technology market continues to  evolve, and the home insurance industry is taking note. Some insurers are offering discounts and incentives to those with smart home upgrades. We encourage all of our clients to talk to their insurance company to see what discounts they might be eligible for. Click here to learn what kind of discounts might be available to you.

Whether you’re looking to sell, looking to buy, or looking to upgrade—smart home technologies offer solutions that will benefit your lifestyle and your wallet for years to come.

Savant vs. Control4 vs. Crestron For Today’s Smart Home. Which is Right For You?

Three years ago, we wrote a post—Savant vs. Control4—comparing the benefits of our top two whole home automation systems. Since then, it has consistently been one of the most visited pages on our site, earning more than 10,000 pageviews from across the globe.

The question “which control system is right for me” is a question asked by nearly every client who walks through our door. Each time our answer is pretty simple: It Depends On What You’re Looking For. Keep reading for details.

Advances in Whole Home Automation

home automation systems

Control4

Since publishing our original post, both Control4 and Savant have advanced dramatically, and continue to be world-class products. We also recently added a third whole home automation system to our lineup: Crestron.

With all of the changes, we decided it was time to take a fresh look at these three smart home automation platforms in an effort to help our clients make the decision that is best for them.


An Overview of Control4, Savant, and Crestron

Control4 Savant Crestron
  • Over a decade on the home automation market
  • Lower price points than Savant or Crestron
  • Offers a wide breadth of capabilities including Audio, Video, Lighting, Climate, Security and more
  • Easily integrates with 3rd party devices including Sonos, Nest, Chamberlain garage doors, and Lutron lighting control systems
  • Singular, intuitive user interface
  • Elegant user experience

home automation systems

  • Apple-based products that focus on user experience
  • Extremely reliable, user friendly platform
  • Allows users to define and set “scenes” without reprogramming the software- integration is not required
  • Customizable to suit your lifestyle

  • Over three decades on the home automation market
  • Features complex systems including video distribution, audio conferencing, access control and more
  • High level of integration with simplified control
  • Perfect for commercial spaces
  • Perfect for larger homes with multiple televisions
  • Robust, comprehensive, customizable solutions
  • Ability to build on what already exists, often refreshing and re-programming the software to better leverage the value
  • Truly integrated solutionshome automation systems

Control4 vs. Savant vs. Crestron: Which One is Right for You?

Asking us to pick our favorite control system is like asking us which of our kids we like better. We like all of them for different reasons.

home automation systemsControl4: Entry-level platform, approachable price point, flexible, integrates with an array of 3rd party devices.

Savant: Mid-level price point, extensive customization options, better user experience.

Crestron: Most robust and customizable solution, ideal for complex integration, higher-end price point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more differences between the platforms:

CONTROL4

  • Integrates with more 3rd party devices than any of the other platform including: Nest, Sonos, smart locks, smart thermostats and other “Internet of Things” devices.
  • As close to an “out of the box” product as you can get. This allows for quick installation and systems that can be deployed in minutes, versus weeks.
  • Offers an on-screen display, allowing our clients to control their audio and video experience straight from their television.
  • The only platform that allows you to use the TV as a navigation tool.
  • The leading choice for retrofit projects due to its Zigbee wireless capabilities. This allows our clients to take advantage of home technology without rewiring the home.

SAVANT

  • A favorite among Apple fans.
  • Easy to install and very easy to modify.
  • Allows users the ability to customize and set “scenes” themselves.
  • The most reliable system on the market. Requires the least amount of maintenance and technical support.
  • Requires professional installation and wiring. It is the most popular choice for new construction in the Denver area.

CRESTRON

  • The ultimate ability in customization, integration and luxury features. As such, it generally requires some level of personalized programming. When done well, this can be a key benefit. When done poorly, it can make system operations challenging.
  • Ideal choice for a select clients but, for those select few, it is the ONLY choice. If you want to customize the user experience, this is the right platform for you.
  • Ideal choice for large properties and quasi commercial environments.

Making The Decision

home automation systems

When people ask me “Which system do you prefer.” I tell them the following:

  1. I like all of them. At RSI, we only represent the best in custom integration so we wouldn’t install a product that we didn’t believe in.
  2. The system you select is less important than who installs it for you. Find a reliable systems integrator you can count on. A poorly installed Crestron system will function much worse than a well-installed Control4 system, regardless of price.
  3. Play with the user interface and figure out which one you like best. That’s more important than the brand. You’ll use the interfaces everyday so make sure you come to our office and try them all out.
  4. If it tells you anything, I (along with several RSI employees) have a Savant system in my own house. That said, many of the other employees at RSI have Control4 as well. 

The beauty of supporting all three platforms is that we have a solution to fit every client’s needs. We believe in giving our clients a choice when it comes to control system and budget. By bringing together these best-in-class platforms, we are able to offer clients a solution that will meet their needs at a price point that fits their budget.

For help figuring out which system is right for you, give us a call, visit our web site or schedule an appointment at our Design Studio.

Smart Home Technology Trends for 2017

The adoption of smart home technologies continues to rise, with nearly half of renovating homeowners (45%) incorporating smart systems or devices during their renovation projects (Houzz). We’ve seen a substantial growth in demand for intelligent home security devices such as smart doorbell cameras (up 211% from last year according to Argus Insights); our clients are asking for these on almost every installation we do today. Security systems, entertainment, lighting and climate control technologies are also showing a rapid increase in market adoption. More good news: customer satisfaction ratings are remarkably high for these technologies.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 highlights from 2016, and (our predictions for) the top five trends of 2017. Scroll down for more details.

2017 Technology Trends

5 Highlights: Smart Home Technology in 2016

  • Connected thermostats add comfort while dramatically reducing energy consumption within the home. Perhaps that’s why they’ve become “the single most popular smart device in a renovated home,” according to Houzz. Good thing they made our list of Top 5 Tech Trends for 2016. Our pick: Control4
  • Lighting Design has never been so elegant nor so experience driven. Set scenes to come home to. Light pathways through your home at night. The options are endless. Our pick: Lutron
  • Voice controlled devices are the star child of 2016 and made our list of Smart Home Technologies in 2017. More details below. Our pick: Amazon Alexa
  • Advancements in whole home automation systems allow homeowners to adjust lighting, music and temperature; monitor security systems; and manage home entertainment systems from one easy-to-use application. Our pick: Savant or Control4

With all the innovation, one of the biggest challenges we see is the need for homeowners to learn about and find the right technologies for their home. We know it can be overwhelming and we’re here to help. Click through for our Home Technology Guide and our easy-to-use Client Checklist. Then, give us a call.

2017 Technology Trends

You can adjust the music, lower the lighting, lock the front door, and see what’s happening on your property…all from right here. Image from Lutron.

Top 5 Smart Home Technology Trends for 2017

There’s a lot of momentum for 2017 as new technologies continue to hit the market and more comprehensive integration capabilities are developed. Here are our top 5 trends to watch in 2017.

    1. Increased partnerships across technologies allow users to cherry-pick the products that work best for them, and integrate functionality across a user friendly network. Did you know that you can now ask Alexa to check if your dryer is finished due to a collaboration with GE? Our favorite: Sonos‘ integration with Lutron
    2. “According to new report from ABI Research:  “Voice controlled smart home devices, a device category that barely existed just two years ago, is expected to represent almost 30 percent of smart home device spending by 2021” (Security Info Watch). Hear Kevin Learmann, RSI’s VP of System Consulting, speak with Modern In Denver about his experience with Alexa.
    3. Smart home security systems are on the rise, with smart doorbell cameras and smart detectors leading the way in increased demand (according to Argus Insights, see chart below). And while peepholes have always been awkward, these technologies are solving more than the puzzle of what’s outside. Get notified about fire or gas problems. Monitor and control locks wherever you are. Or, if security from intruders is your goal, big data allows for a social element to your surveillance system: you might hold the keys to solving a crime! Our pick: Doorbird (which integrates well with Control4).
    4. This might be because we live in Colorado (where we get sun 300 days/year) but the smart home technologies for outdoor living have folks stepping up their back yards for year round entertainment. Our picks: Ruckus Wireless for outdoor network connection, Sonance for outdoor audio, and Seura for outdoor TV.
    5. New 4K and HDR televisions offer unbelievable picture quality, featuring 4 times more detail than standard high definition (to be exact). The result: stunning detail, vibrant colors, and a wholly renewed viewing experience. Our pick: the Sony 4K Ultra HD TV. 

2017 Technology Trends

 

Want to learn more? Have a different idea for home technology trends in 2017? Reach out. We look forward to speaking with you.

 

5 Ways to Make Your House Smarter, Inside and Out

Smart home technology is changing the way people interact with their homes. From simple devices, to whole-home automation systems, the latest innovations promise to make everyday living easier, more comfortable and more efficient.

But what does a smart home actually look like? Let us take you on a quick tour.


The Kitchen

Savant_Kitchen_0130

Savant

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the perfect place to kick off our technology tour. Sure, state-of-the-art appliances are a must, but the way to really turn your kitchen into a family haven is to add automated lighting and music to the mix.

With automation systems like Savant and Control4, you can create the perfect mood with one touch on a keypad.

Need to get the kids up and energized in the morning? Open the shades, turn up the lights, and cue top 40 music. Ready to kick back and relax with a glass of wine and your friends? Close the shades, dim the lights, and cue a little Adele in the background.

All with the touch of a single button.

Sounds fun right?


The Bathroom

smarter home

Forget the bluetooth speaker in the corner and the mini TV perched next to the bathroom sink. Today’s smart bathroom technology includes in-mirror TVs from Seura; you can catch up on the news while brushing your teeth. Want shower tunes? Hidden speakers from Sonance provide enveloping surround sound to wake up your body and mind. Time to wind down? Seura’s waterproof TVs allow you to watch your favorite movie while soaking in the tub. 

How’s that for stepping up your wash room time?


The Bedroom

smarter home

Lutron

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep. Smart bedroom technologies allow you to tuck in without the late night walk through. Today’s technology gives you the option of installing a “goodnight” button to dim the bedroom lights, automatically close the shades, arm the security system, and turn off any lighting or entertainment devices throughout the rest of the house.

If you are the type to hit your snooze button a few too many times in a row, you can pre-program your lights, shades and music to turn on at a certain time. Now no one has an excuse to be late for school (or work).


The Living Room

smarter home

Control4

Make family movie night at home feel like a night out at the theater. Using Control4 or Savant controls for lighting and climate, transform your living room into a cool, dark, night-out experience. With the touch of a single button you can lower the lights, choose your favorite blockbuster, and adjust the temperature all from the comfort of your couch. Now kick back with some homemade, buttery popcorn and enjoy the magic of the movies right at home.


The Backyard

smarter home

Sonance

Make the outdoors as comfortable as the indoors. Recreate the stadium experience or an open-air theatre with a big screen outdoor TV from Seura. Touch a button on your smartphone to turn on your fire pit and enjoy the sunset. Or, program the outdoor lights to turn on as the sun dips behind the hills. Time to get the party going? An outdoor surround sound system will take your outdoor entertaining to a whole new level.

A smart home equals better living. And the best part? Each of these systems can be installed separately or easily integrated together throughout the home.

If you’re looking to turn your house into a smart home and don’t know where to start, check out our “Getting Started” checklist.

We also offer a free in-home consultation. Our team of experts can design a system that works for your lifestyle. Give us a call at (303) 277-9983.

 

Summer Vacation the Smart Way

Loading up the family and heading out to your vacation home is top of the list for fun summer getaways. While lounging on the patio and lingering past sundown are the name of the game, they could be even more fun with a dash of smart technology.

This summer bring your vacation home to life with the latest in home automation.


Turn Your Pool Into a Smart Pool

13323722_10153684575764021_4042910019866449291_o

The swimming pool is an oasis and the perfect place to keep the kids entertained in the heat. This summer, turn up the fun with a Pool Scene on your Savant system. Program the heat, water pumps and water slide to turn on with the touch of a button. To complete the package, program music and lights to turn on when you’re hosting your next pool party.


The Outdoor Living Room

summer vacation home

Turn your backyard into an outdoor living room with a waterproof TV by Seura, which can withstand the elements and still provide a crystal clear picture in the sunlight—it’s great for family movie night under the stars.

What entertainment system would be complete without outdoor surround sound. Sonance creates high quality sound you can control from any smart device. Perfect for those pool parties or a mellow afternoon enjoying the sunshine and a frosty beverage.


Keep Your Cool

summer vacation home

Control4

The dog days of summer are ahead, but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. A smart climate control system like the one from Control4 lets you easily program the temperature in your home and even control it remotely from a tablet or smartphone. Plus, you can have the home cooled before you arrive for your next vacation, which is much more comfortable than waiting for the a/c to kick in while you sweat it out.


Maintain Your Pristine Lawn

summer vacation home

Rachio

While you’re away there’s no reason you can’t preserve your green lawn you worked hard to grow. Using Rachio through your Control4 system let’s you monitor and manage your home’s sprinkler system from anywhere. Keep an eye on water usage, and program when you’d like the sprinklers to come on, keeping your lawn beautiful and green.

This summer, turn your vacation home into a smart summer getaway with the latest in home technology. If you’re interested in adding any of these features, give us a call for a free in-home consultation.

Kick back and relax, you earned it.

Home Technology: Your Guide to Getting Started

In recent years the smart home market has seen tremendous growth, and is only projected to continue growing. There are new products and ideas entering the market that promise to make living easier, but with so much innovation it often gets lost in translation. Homeowners are curious about smart devices and willing to make an investment, but oftentimes people are left asking “what can a smart home do?”

We are constantly looking for new ways to bring our customers the latest and greatest, while allowing them to take confident control of their smart home devices and all their benefits.

With that, we’ve created a few videos that should help in clearing up any questions you might have, and hopefully get you excited about installing your own smart home system.


Infrastructure/Wiring

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to power your smart home. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, this is the best time to have your home wired. Before the walls are up, we can lay the foundation for any technology you want and even future-proof your home for new devices.

However, it’s never too late, we also have the ability to add wiring, even if you don’t plan to tear down walls. Want to learn more? Check out our blog post about everything you need to know before wiring your home, and watch the video below. 


Automated Blinds

More than just a time saver, automated blinds also help lower your energy bills, provide security for your family, and save your furniture from sun damage. Think about those bright Colorado days—the sun is hot! Now imagine your blinds on a program where they adjust throughout the day to block the hot sun, keeping your home cool and protected from harsh rays. In our video, we’ll show all the other benefits of owning automated blinds.

Automated window coverings look stylish, save you from spending precious time opening and closing them, and bring you a convenience you never would have imagined. They come in a variety of fabrics and colors so they blend seamlessly with your decor.


Lighting

Once you add automated lighting to your home you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

You know that large light bank you have with five different switches, each controlling a different light in the kitchen? Have you finally figured out which one goes to which light? If you have, congratulations, but the rest of us are still in hunt-and-peck mode. Enter automated lighting, your saving grace and time saver.

Program your lights to come on to wake you up in the morning, control them from your smartphone while away from home, or replicate your lighting habits while you’re away—this gives your home a lived-in look to potential intruders. Watch the video to see what you’ve been missing.

The possibilities are truly endless.


Audio/Video

Today’s home theaters are so robust, you’ll wonder why you ever spent money going to the movies. Stream movies from anywhere in the house, install theater-quality surround sound, automatically lower lights at the start of the movie from the comfort of your chair—it’s all possible with a smart home theater.

Or if you’re a complete audiophile and need your favorite music with you at all times, then a whole-home audio system is your dream come true. Stream your favorite Apple or Pandora  tunes throughout the house, listen to a song in one room and have different music playing in other parts of the house, or even outside.

With smart audio and video you’ll be living in entertainment, click below to see how.


Climate Control

You will never feel more in control than when you finally take charge of your thermostat. Your comfort levels change throughout the season and the battle with the temperature seems endless.

With a smart climate control system, your house learns what you like and adjusts accordingly. You can even use your smartphone to change the temperature before you step in the door. The plus side of all this is a lower energy bill and no more dancing with the thermostat to cool or warm your home. Watch below to learn more about smart climate control and start living more comfortably.


Security

Safety is at the forefront of our minds, and the ability to monitor our homes from anywhere gives us great peace of mind. A smart security system goes beyond cameras placed around your home. Today with the latest innovations in home technology, you can monitor your home through cameras from anywhere in the world, arm and disarm security remotely, install smart locks that can be controlled remotely, or automatically shut-off valves in case of a water or gas leak. Alerts are sent straight to your phone so you’re never in the dark. This short video can show you how a smart home can keep you safe and secure.

Whether you’re new to the smart home game or a regular player looking for new devices, Residential Systems Inc. has the expertise to work with you. We excel in designing systems 100% customized to your needs and lifestyle, which is why we are always happy to give you free in-home consultations. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and ask any questions you might have, we’ll design your smart home of the future for today.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Investing in Smart Home Technology

1.Will Your Home Support Smart Home Technology?

home technology

Many homeowners assume they can’t afford home automation or will need a major overhaul to wire their home. This simply isn’t true. The growth of automation and development of retrofit technologies has made it easier and more accessible than ever before to make your home smart.  If you’re not in a position for re-wiring you’re not out of the home automation game. Many devices utilize WiFi to connect with each other and your home—it’s remarkably simplified.


2. Determine Where You Want Technology

home technology

Lutron motorized shades

The advantage of smart home technology, and what makes us so excited about our work, is its ability to simplify our daily lives. Before automating your home, ask yourself what you want to simplify. Would automated blinds make it easier for you to enjoy natural sunlight? Maybe decluttering your remote control collection and switching to a single controller? Or making your home look occupied when you are away?  The realm of home technology continues to change the way we run our homes. We offer free in-home consultations and will work with you to design a home technology system that fits your needs.


3. Seek Out A Professional Integrator

The DIY home technology industry is booming, however this doesn’t mean everything is intuitive or works properly. Sometimes you get what you pay for.  A professional integrator knows how to set-up automated systems in your home and can get everything to work seamlessly together. Once your systems are synched they’ll be easy to use, but getting started is best left to the professionals.


4. Evaluate Your Home Network

home technology

Whether you’re building a new home or are automating your existing home, you’ll need to consider the setup of a wireless or wired network. This is where a professional integrator steps in. We lay the wiring down while you’re building your home and figure out the best access points are so you get the best signal. If you’re working on an existing home, we can also use wireless products, use existing wiring, or install the least amount of wiring needed discreetly.


5. Expect the Unexpected

You may notice once your home is up in running there are opportunities to save on energy consumption. This is the great thing about home automation. Sure, life is simplified, but now you can save money too! Save on electricity by scheduling your lights to come on and off based on when you’re not home or when the sun sets and rises. Set your thermostat to adjust only when you’re at home, keeping your bills down. We have many other ways to help you keep your home green.

If you’ve thought about bringing your home into the 21st century with new technology, give us a call at 303-277-9983 and we’ll come out for a free in-home consultation. We can show you how to make your home more comfortable and convenient for your lifestyle.