There is an infatuation today with technology, yes?  People are lining up to get the latest automated device whether that is a Nest thermostat, a touch-screen refrigerator, an Alexa or Google Home.  Or an iPhone X.  The lines for new phones are legendary.

Photo courtesy of Nest.

But like everything else, the more complicated things get…the more complicated things get.  Let’s talk about it for a minute.

First, a note of caution:  Everything connected to the internet can be hacked.  Beware.

Now back to the narrative.

“Back in the day”, when you sold your home, you would leave the manuals and warranties for the new owners and just give them the keys.  Now things are different and if you are buying a smart home here are five things you need to do.

     1.  Ask sellers for manuals and manufacturer’s contact information for all smart devices.  

This may seem obvious, but contacting companies today is not as simple as it used to be.  That’s because technology has made things easier and faster (yeah, right).  There may not even be a phone number to contact support for the device.  I recently had a dispute with an online vendor who neither provided a phone number or answered my six emails.

     2.  Notify manufacturers of change of ownership and provide new contact information so they can send you updates and security patches.

Again, remember everything connected to the internet can be hacked and once inside your home network, hackers have access to all connected devices.  These means if you have a “super smart home” they have all your information from whether you need butter & eggs to your banking information.

     3.  Update all devices to latest security software and firmware.

So, just like your phone, tablet or computer, all these devices need to have updates installed.  Continually.

     4.  Change passwords and usernames of the devices.

This is important BEFORE closing on the house.  You may need the current owner’s login information in order to change things.  I sold a house once with a smart thermostat and the new owner could not operate.  Luckily, the seller was in town and came back over and made the change for the new owner.  The new owner removed the thermostat and replaced it with a simple, manual device.

     5.  Change access codes for door locks, gate and garage door opener’s.

Once you have changed the username and password, you still have to change the access codes so they will work for you.  Again, make sure this is done before the seller leaves town or you could be stuck, especially if the smart device is the front door lock.

The rules of ownership have changed, or may be changing, and if you are entering this arena be prepared to play by the new rules.

Richard Sites, Realtor