“Smart” Updates to Your Home

(Today’s guest post is from Matt Edstrom of GoodLife Home Loans. Matt constantly deals in home value assessment, so today he will be sharing his wisdom on which new “smart” home updates are especially valuable.)

Updating your home regularly can help improve your quality of life and add value to your property. Although we know we should be staying up-to-date on our homes, sometimes it can be difficult to know which updates are worth the investment. Updating is influenced by two main factors:

1) How long will you stay in your home?

2) What’s your budget?

Regardless of your answers, there are a few updates everyone should consider.

“Smart” Home Updates

Smart home updates have been gaining in popularity for the last few years, and for good reason. Smart home updates can improve the quality of your life, save money, and increase the value of your home. The best part about smart home updates is most of them are fairly affordable.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats feature a few key benefits. The most noteworthy benefit is their ability to save homeowners money. Smart thermostats work by learning your schedule to optimize when your home is being heated and cooled. Your smart thermostat will learn your schedule, and turn off your heating or cooling system when you are out of the home and turn it back on in time to heat or cool your home to the ideal temperature before you return. This will help you save money because your HVAC system won’t be in use while you are gone. Additionally, it will simplify your life by preventing you from worrying about whether or not you set the system to the correct temperature. Smart thermostats run as low as $70 to upwards of $250, making it a fairly affordable investment. With a little research, most homeowners should also be able to install their smart thermostat on their own. In addition to saving you money, your smart thermostat is doing the environment a favor.

Smart Locks

Installing a smart lock on your home can prevent you from ever calling a locksmith again. Another added perk of installing a smart lock is you may qualify for an insurance discount. Installing a smart lock on your home can help you save money in the long run, but will also give you peace of mind and the feeling of security. Depending on the type of smart lock you purchase, there are a few different features involved. Smart locks range from about $50 to $300 depending on what kind of upgrades you choose. The one feature that is included with all smart locks is that you’ll no longer need to bring your house keys with you. Additionally, other people can access your home without a key or having you physically on your property. Depending on the type of smart lock you purchase, you can provide visitors with a one-time code or you can unlock your front door remotely. Between the added security and the opportunity to save money, installing a smart lock should definitely be on your list of upgrades.

Smart Light Bulbs

Smart light bulbs have many of the same benefits as other smart home updates. They have the potential to save you money, while also making your life easier. Of all of the smart home updates, this one adds the most flair to your home. Smart light bulbs can be controlled remotely from your phone, helping to ensure you aren’t unnecessarily using electricity while you are away from your home. Smart light bulbs can also be customized in a number of different ways. Each bulb can be set to a unique color setting, meaning that if you had all smart light bulbs in your house, each bulb could be set to a different color. Smart light bulbs are one of the more expensive smart home updates because most homes have anywhere from 10 to 50 light bulbs. It’s not necessary to have a smart light bulb installed in every light fixture, for many people they just install them in their most frequently used fixtures. Although smart light bulbs can be a larger expense, like other LED bulbs, they last for around 20 years, helping you save money on replacing light bulbs as well as helping save money on electricity.

In addition to the “smart” updates, there are a few other upgrades to consider.

Exterior Upgrades

Exterior upgrades add value to your home, and will also increase the number of interested buyers if you are thinking about selling. If the exterior of your home has been recently upgraded, potential buyers who drive by your home are likely to be interested and reach out to you, the same may not be true if the outside of your home is run down. If the exterior of your home is in bad condition, potential buyers may not be willing to even check out the interior. Exterior upgrades are often easy DIY projects, meaning that most people will be able to make these upgrades themselves for a lot less money. The three with the best bang for your buck are listed below.


Improving your landscaping can help to add a pop of color to your home and can be done quite well without much assistance. Building garden beds around the front of your home is a project that can be completed in a few weekends and only requires digging up some dirt and grass and planting flowers in its place. The cost of upgrading your landscaping depends on what type of upgrades you are looking to make and could even be free if you do it yourself. Nice landscaping goes a long way toward making your home look more appealing. Landscaping your front yard can include small upgrades like replacing your mailbox or adding house numbers to your curb or next to your front door.

Front Door Replacement

Replacing your front door is another minor project that can add significant value to your home. Depending on your skill level and how much help you have, you may even be able to install your new front door yourself. The lowest price point you are likely to find will run about $300, but can go up to $1,200 or more, depending on how nice of a door you are looking for. Similar to your front yard, your front door is one of the first impressions that people perceive about your home. Replacing your front door may even increase your homes energy efficiency due to increased insulation.

Exterior Paint

Repainting your home can be a serious facelift and is one of the more expensive upgrades to make on your home, but you can save close to 50% of that cost by doing the job yourself. Repainting your home is a major commitment and could take a few weeks depending on the size of your home and how much free time you have. Repainting your home will usually cost more than $1,500 if you hire professionals. If you aren’t prepared to take on the job by yourself, you can ask your contractor for advice on what you can do to prep your home to reduce the cost of the job. Although repainting your home can be a pricey upgrade, a job well-done should last more than 10 years. This number varies depending on what region you live in, as the weather has a large influence on how long your paint lasts.

Closing Thoughts

Any upgrades that you make to your home should help add value to your property. “Smart” home upgrades are particularly relevant right now due to their growing popularity and because they are relatively new to the home market. Additionally, any project that you take on as DIY will help you to save costs in the long run. Even if you’re not interested in selling your home soon, it’s important to make regular updates to help retain the value of the property.

Matt Edstrom is Chief Marketing Officer of GoodLife Home Loans. Matt completed his undergrad at MIT and his MBA at Northwestern University and has experience in real estate, marketing, and finance.

How about you? Have you made any of these updates recently? What did they cost? Are you happy with the results? Let us know in the comments below.

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