While it’s hard to overlook the presence of technological devices like computers and cell phones in our daily lives, we often forget the sheer number of automated devices operating in our home each day.
Some of the most visible devices at home are TVs and appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and microwaves. But there are also smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, sprinklers, home security systems, garage openers and keypads, thermostats, energy systems, and smart lighting systems. The list is endless!
Smart homes are the new standard
As our technology culture continues to advance, an increasing number of these devices have been embedded with software, network connectivity, and electronics to give them the ability to collect and share data. Unfortunately, smart home devices can be particularly vulnerable to hackers looking to obtain access to private networks. For new homebuyers, renters, and people in the real estate business, the growing number of smart home devices means an increased probability of falling victim to a security breach.
So what can you do to protect the security of devices in your home? Start by utilizing a Smart Home Checklist: a list of steps for consumers to follow when they purchase a new home. The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently joined forces to create this list, which provides consumers with a tool to maximize the security and privacy of their home. The checklist focuses primarily on securing devices that could compromise valuable user information if hacked.
The basic outline
The Smart Home Checklist breaks things down into five manageable sections and includes simple tips like taking an inventory of all connected devices, changing passwords, reading through privacy policies, giving the device manufacturer current contact information, and running software updates. The topics covered in the checklist include:
- Things to do prior to closing
- Smart home devices and applications
- Modems, gateways and hubs
- Security alarms, keyless entry, gate systems.
- Home thermostats, HVAC systems, smart TVs, lighting and other devices.
Give your clients peace of mind
Not only is the Smart Home Security and Privacy Checklist a wonderful tool for consumers, it’s a great way for real estate agents and brokers to help potential buyers stay informed. The ability to offer a tangible, pro-active list of steps to increase security is likely to increase the comfort level of many potential homebuyers. With the Smart Home Checklist, buyers need not sacrifice the benefits of home devices for the sake of security. They can have both.