Start learning today

author bio

Recent Articles

What are closing costs when buying a house or a condo?

About to finalize buying your home? What are the closing costs you need to be aware ...

Why you need to inspect your attic and what to look for

In this episode, we discuss why an attic inspection is important, when to check and ...


Popular Articles

What does it mean for a house to settle and what's considered normal?

So you've just bought a new house but started to see some physical issues crop up. W...

What's the difference between a zero lot line home and a traditional lot home?

Wondering how a zero lot line home differs from a traditional lot home? Why would yo...


What are the top smart home ideas for a new construction home?

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


February 14, 2020 - Karl Yeh

In this episode, we discuss elements of a smart home that you may consider when buying a new construction home and turning it into a smart home.


Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

YouTube Subscribe 


What we discussed:

Hi, everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts.

Now, remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get a little strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell, so you don't miss anything.

Elements of a smart home for a new construction build

Today, the topic we're going to discuss is elements of a smart home. Before we begin, just to preface it, we are in a Brookfield show home, so some of the products that we'll be showing you today may not be the same as the ones that you'll be purchasing or the ones in your homes, but they do have similar functionality. I'm going to introduce Josh Brinkman with Brookfield Residential, and we're actually going to start with a smart door.

Smart door

Joshua Brinkman:         

With the smart door, to activate it, first thing you're going to do is you're going to push the Yale logo button. You'll push that, and it'll turn on the keypad. Say that you're outside, and the door is locked.

Smart Door:                    Press a code to [crosstalk 00:01:08].

Joshua Brinkman:         

You're going to enter in your code. For right now, for this purpose, we have it set to one, two, three, four. So we're going to push one, two, three, four, and then the checkmark. That will unlock the door. Then you have access to your home.

If you ever do want to change the code for your door, you'll push the yellow button, and there's a settings button here in the top right.

Smart Door:                    Enter the master [crosstalk 00:01:28].

Joshua Brinkman:          You'll push that. You'll have to enter in your master code.

So, we'll put the master code, one, two, three, four, checkmark.

It brings you to the settings menu. Now, it does talk to you, so it'll help guide you through each step, but to change the master code, it's simply the first option.

Then you've pushed the checkmark. So you enter in your new code, and you push the checkmark, and it will change it for you.

Let's say we're going to change it to the year, two, zero, two, zero, and then checkmark.

Now, that code has changed.

Let's simulate that it's locked again.

Now, that it's locked, we'll enter in our new code, two, zero, two, zero, and it's open. If you ever do want to change it again, just go back in your settings menu and change it.

Karl Yeh:                       Can you do all of this on your smartphone as well?

Joshua Brinkman:         

You can't change the code on your smartphone. From your smartphone, you can simply open and close the deadbolt.

But you're not able to actually change the code on your smartphone.

Karl Yeh:                      

And, is it possible to connect that code to, let's say, your garage door or anywhere else that you may have a smart lock?

Joshua Brinkman:         

You can connect it to the system. And if you have multiple smart locks, they'll all be in that same one. You can label this one as, say, your front door, and if you have one on your garage door, you can label that one as the garage door.

So in the app, you actually have the choice of selecting your front door or your garage door.

Karl Yeh:                       Perfect. Do you have anything else to add in terms of a smart lock?

Replacing the batteries on a smart lock

Joshua Brinkman:         

With the smart locks, because they are exposed to the exterior elements, the batteries do tend to die. Now, that's because of the cold.

It does drain the battery quite quick. Now, to do that, you're going to go on the backside of this deadbolt, and in the top here, there's an actual little hole.

You just need a pin.

So I have just a really small Allen key for the purpose of this. You're going to insert that pin in the top, push down, and pull this plastic cover off.

Now you have access to all your double-A's. You want to replace that, and it does talk to you. It does say that you need to replace your batteries. It gives you about a three-day notice.

Eventually, it's going to say, "Batteries are very low. Please, replace now." It's going to start getting a little more aggressive. At that point, you need to change your batteries.

In the event that you do not change your batteries and the lock completely dies, there's a fail-safe mode to open this.

Underneath of your touchscreen, there's two prongs. What you'll do is you'll take a nine-volt battery, and you'll hold it underneath there. It'll be able to activate the lock. Then you enter your code in, and you'll be able to gain access to your home.

Karl Yeh:                      

Oh, okay. Because I was wondering if it's just for security reasons, you still need to enter your code in.

Joshua Brinkman:         

You still need to enter your code. If the battery completely dies, it will lock itself, and you won't have access. So that's the only way that you can reactivate that lock to gain access to your home.

Karl Yeh:                       Perfect. Anyway, so let's go to the smart thermostat next.

Expert tips ebook - Get the guide today

Smart thermostat

Karl Yeh:                       Josh, can you tell me a little bit more about the smart thermostat?

Joshua Brinkman:         

This is the Honeywell Home Prestige IAQ Thermostat. It got a full touchscreen.

You can completely program it to your usual schedule. You can put permanent holds on certain temperatures. In here, you can switch it for your circulation fan.

You can have it run all the time.

You can have it circulate about 35% of the time, or you can have it run as the heat and the cold air comes in the home.

You can also go to the system. You can change it from heat for in the wintertime, cool in the summer, or you can turn it off. In the menu, you can change the schedule.

You can go on vacation mode.

Say you're leaving the house, it'll turn down the temperature while you're gone.The color themes, you can change the colors, the preferences, and then it just shows you your equipment statuses, your temporary schedule changes, security settings, dealer information, and installer options.

Karl Yeh:                       You can do all this on your smartphone, too, right?

Joshua Brinkman:         

You can. Through the Honeywell app, you're able to control that off your smartphone.

Karl Yeh:                       Great. I know in a previous video about the HRV system, which you can check out here, I know Luke was talking about the HRV system that you need to control.

But this can control it as well now.

This new smart thermostat eliminates the ventilation fan switch because it has the capability to run it.

You still have your bathroom HRV switches, but this eliminates your main ventilation fan switch that's on the main floor.

How often do you need to update the smart thermostat?

Karl Yeh:                      

How often do I need to update this? Does it have an update from Honeywell or whatever system that you plan to use?

Joshua Brinkman:         

As long as you're connected to wifi, it should regularly update itself. If it ever does have any issues, there are ways to go into the settings and redo the firmware for it.

Karl Yeh:                       Do I need to charge this, the control panel?

Joshua Brinkman:          It is hardwired. It's got the power from the wire that's in the wall.

Karl Yeh:                       Perfect. Awesome. Anyway, so let's go up and check out the smart smoke detector.

Smart smoke detector

Karl Yeh:                      

Josh, can you tell me more about this smoke detector? How is it different than a regular smoke detector?

Joshua Brinkman:         

This is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, so it's a combination of the two. And it's also smartphone-enabled, so if it does go off, sensing that there's smoke or carbon monoxide in the area, you'll get a notification from the system itself as well as on your smartphone.

Karl Yeh:                       How often do you need to recharge this?

Joshua Brinkman:         

They are operated off of batteries, so it will go as long as the batteries are still good. When they do start running low, it will notify you on this and your phone to replace the batteries.

How to turn off the detector if accidentally set off?

Karl Yeh:                      

What happens if I accidentally set it off? Let's say, I'm cooking, and there's smoke coming up. how do I turn it off?

Joshua Brinkman:         

To turn it off, there's two methods. The first one is to push the center button with the Nest logo on it. The other is to actually turn it off from your smartphone.

Karl Yeh:                       Perfect. We're actually going to go over to the smart cameras now.

Smart home cameras

Karl Yeh:                       Josh, can you tell me more about the smart cameras?

Joshua Brinkman:         

Sure. There's three different cameras that we do offer as upgrades with our homes. The first one is the indoor cameras, which you can place anywhere throughout the home.

The second is the outdoor cameras, and the third is the video doorbell camera.

Karl Yeh:                       Oh, cool. Can you tell me more about the features?

Joshua Brinkman:         

The features are if there's any motion detected, it actually sends a notification to your smartphone that there's motion in whichever room that you put it in.

The difference is with the video doorbells, it can actually detect if there's motion outside or if there's a person approaching your home.

And it will actually send you a notification saying someone is at your front door.

Karl Yeh:                       Awesome. Can you show me a little bit on your phone?

Joshua Brinkman:          Yeah, sure. Here's the app.

Karl Yeh:                       For the doorbell, you can actually see, and it'll show you the notification.

Joshua Brinkman:          Exactly, and you can actually talk to them through the app.

Karl Yeh:                       Oh, cool.

Joshua Brinkman:         

You can respond to them. Say you're having a package coming to your house, and the courier's at your front door. You can tell them to drop it at the front door.

Karl Yeh:                       Oh, wow. That's pretty cool.

Joshua Brinkman:          And close it up.

Karl Yeh:                       Awesome. Do you have anything else to add?

Joshua Brinkman:          No, that's about it.

If you want to know more about home maintenance, check out this playlist here, and I'll see you in our next video.

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional homeowner or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts.  

Expert tips ebook - Get the guide today

Latest Articles

Expert tips ebook - Get the guide today


Continue your education

Join your fellow homebuyers to get the latest strategies and tips to help you find your perfect home.



Watch the latest home buying video so you’re prepared for your next home purchase.


Latest Videos

Watch the latest home buying video so you’re prepared for your next home purchase.

Watch & Learn