6 high-tech options to make your home stand out

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | September 12, 2014

Everything is connected these days, and that includes our houses. With wall-to-wall tech tempting potential homebuyers, how can you make your own house stand out from the crowd? These high-tech options can make your house so cool that you might actually have second thoughts about selling the place.

Make it easier to get in

What if walking into your home didn't require a key? What if you could simply push a button or two and walk right in the door, without having to carry around that keyring? Keyless entry has been standard with many car companies for years, and now you can have the same luxury with your home. Want even more security? Fingerprint scans are now becoming available for those who want to be absolutely certain that the person entering their home is truly supposed to be there. Best Consumer Reviews offers up three biometric door locks that have very reasonable prices.

Light the place up

Gone are the days when you had to flip a switch to get some light. Smart light systems sense when you come into the room and do all the work for you, so you never walk into a dark space. It can be an impressive part of your home security system, or it can be done with simple motion sensors. The cost depends upon the light you need, the size of your house, and what bells and whistles you want. An in-depth consultation with a lighting designer can help you figure out which route to take to light up the place. To learn about the education, training, and certifications your lighting designer should have, visit the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Control your atmosphere

Sure, you know all about the new thermostats that can read your activities and adjust your indoor climate accordingly. But did you know that they can do much more than that? Thermostats can use motion detectors to determine whether you are home, and adjust the temperature accordingly. It can also track the energy usage, giving you a clear look at exactly where your money is going. According to Mashable, even the coolest thermostats can run under $500.

Get a handle on the weather

Do more than just look out a window to figure out whether it's rain or shine. Wireless weather stations tell you much more about the outdoor situation, including forecasts for the next few days, the humidity (a heads-up for bad-hair days), and much more. These stations can be very simple and inexpensive, or can come with all the upgrades you could possibly desire. The New York Times points out that a personal weather station can cost between $150 and $2,500.

Protect your house from surges

Speaking of the weather, storms can bring dangerous lightning, and those pulses of power can destroy every electrical thing in your house. High-quality surge protection strips are a good bet for all of your electronics and appliances, but you can take things a step further with a whole-house surge protector. This helps ensure that the surge never gets into your wiring at all, thus saving you from the possibility of fire and other surge damage. Expect to spend up to $300 bucks on a nice one, according to HouseLogic.

Handle it all from one place

Doesn't it take time and energy to deal with all these gadgets? It does -- which is why a central control panel is a great way to keep tabs on everything. The control panel can be very simple and cover just a few items, or it can be a whole-house system that does everything. The more high-tech your house is, the more you might want to consider a whole-house system that keeps tabs on every aspect of the place. For a tech project as big as this one, consult with a professional contractor about how to create the control panel you need.

In the race for the latest and greatest technology, something that makes life easier and save money is sure to turn the heads of potential homeowners. And if you aren't selling your home, why not indulge anyway, and make life easier for yourself? From weather screens to control panels to smart locks, soon your home will be able to do everything but cook you dinner and walk the dog. (And just wait -- pretty soon, someone will invent a way to let your house do those things, too.)

About the Author

Shannon Lee has written professionally for two decades on a wide variety of topics, including medical and health issues, home repair, education and relationships.