Building A Smart Home 2019: A Helpful Illustrated Guide

When the right time comes, and you decide to build a smart home, there are many factors that should be put into consideration before you take the plunge into it.

Here are few of the things you should consider…

Decide on The State

Even before you decide on the city you want, you first need to decide on the state. People that stay in the sun drenched state would want a winter smart home, while the people that stay in a snowy north would like a sunny gateway. There also people that are not happy with the place they are and would like a remote and scenic place.

It would be wise also for one to put into consideration the tax situation for the state that one is considering. Being a part-time resident or vacationer will not insulate one from the grasping fingers of authorities.

There are few states like California that would charge tax on mortgage interest, so if you have a bank account with them, consider tax liability also.

After you have established this and decided on the state, you want it’s now important you narrow down your research further an and decide on the city you would prefer.

Pick The City or Town

Would you prefer to move to a small town that is far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities? Or would you like to build in the big cities? Where you are… No big deal.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances; you should make a list of places that you are interested in and would potentially want to build your smart home. The internet would be of great help in making sure that you make research of every place. You may as well just go ahead and build where you are as well.

You will find in almost every municipality website the lists of services that are offered by the local government and their information on property taxes.

Research On The Tax Law

Some states like California will consider you a resident and start to charge you taxes accordingly after like six months. That is if you decide to build a home, not a smart home.

It would be important that you also talk to your tax advisor on issues with residence.

Pinpoint an Ideal Home Size and Price Point

Most people are satisfied having a home which is less expensive. The size of the home that one decides to make is also an issue because of tax issues, depending on the state.

If you have been looking for ways on how you can build a smart home, then you are in the right place.

Here are the few basics that you need to start over the journey.

A Cheap Smart Hub $35 or Less

When you are still trying to navigate on the cheaper way you can turn your dumb home into a smart home, it’s all about what you intend to do. No matter what is going to be your end game, there is this one product that you will need to build this system around, and it’s a hub.

For you to build your cheap smart home, let’s start with a wink hub. There’s a probability of getting one cheaper. However, you may not be happy about it because you may run into far too many technical hiccups.

Not only that, but you may also find that the Wink hub is easy to set up and intuitive. You will also find out that it is compatible with almost anything you throw at it. Though there are a lot of people that would disagree with me on choosing this hub.

But also remember that we are trying to keep all things on the cheap, and if that is truly the case, then cheap is what you will get. Apart from that, Wink has a huge following, and it will work just fine for the majority of the people. You can check out their current price here on Amazon.

A Cheap Smart Assistant $50 or Less

So, we are on the journey of building this smart home on the cheap right?  It is not necessary to have a smart assistant. Unless you want to be able to control your smart home using the sound of your voice.

This is one of the items that is not a “Must have.” This is one of the things that many people will want to argue about with me.

Generally, there are two camps here. Some people like the Google Home Mini while some people like Amazon Echo….then there are others. But personally, for compatibility and the fact that Echo Dot has been around for quite some time now than the competitors, I would choose it as my top choice.

This little assistant has the power of the big brother just without the sound quality. So what? You aren’t buying them as a speaker you are going to listen to music on; you would want to build a smart home. That’s the main reason you are here.

This is typically going to run you about $50. Although last Christmas I saw them on sale for around $25. So you would want to keep your eye out on Amazon and check their current price here.

Cheap Smart Lighting – $50 or Less

After getting your Hub and or Assistant. The next very smart thing that I would do is investing in smart lighting. This is mainly because, if you are like the 90% of the population, then you forget to turn off your lights.

Well, when you have smart lighting, you do not need to worry about that any longer. The best part about this is that you don’t have to spend a fortune. It doesn’t have to cost you much to turn your current system and make it smart.

We are going to abort the idea of buying new light bulbs for this project. The focus is going to be more on where the lights are plugged and take a look at your light switches. The easiest and the cheapest way to start with is the switches.

You can purchase TP-Link smart Wi-Fi switches and swap out the existing switches. They will typically run you around $35 each. The nice thing about them is that they will convert your dumb lights connected to them to smart.

Another thing that you can do is buy some smart plug-in outlets and convert the outlets you already have to smart ones. This is handy especially in a situation where a lamp or something else was powered already by plugging it into the wall. You can get a 4pack of these right now for $50 or less. But you can check out their current price here on Amazon.

Cheap Smart Home Security – $50 to $150

This is a pretty tough one because having smart security doesn’t come cheaply. Having good smart security for your vacation home doesn’t really come cheap. But if you are searching for the most inexpensive way you can add in a security camera and window and doors sensors, then I think that I may be able to help out!

If you are aiming at doing this on the cheap, then that’s a brave move. But it can still be done. First, let us address the security camera first right now. I cannot and will not by any means recommend any solution that is cheaper than the Blink XT Cameras.

They can be set up so easily, and they also work solidly well under any conditions. Snow, rain or even cold temperatures. They will remain to be rock solid. You can check out their price on Amazon here.

Now, if you are considering to add door or window sensors, then I would look into the Coolcam door and window sensors. They are a great pair with the Wink and are very discreet. They typically run around $50 or less, but you can check the current price here on Amazon. I have also written another article about smart home security for your shed. You would check it out as well if you have a shed.

Cheap Smart Entertainment Controller $30 or Less

Well, I didn’t see myself do this, in fact, I didn’t think that I would do it, but I have. I have found you a relatively inexpensive IR Controller who will work pretty well with your entertainment system. Together with Alexa from your Echo device, it will enable you to turn on and off your TV with your voice.

You can also change the channel using your voice. The Broadlink IR Control Hub is one thing that you will want have a look at for under $30. It even beats spending on what they want for a Harmony Smart Controller if you are trying to get out on the cheap.

Cheap Home Thermostats – Under $100

This is definitely the part you’ve been waiting for all along. There are a ton of smart home thermostats that are out there. You really spend a fortune on Nest thermostats if you are daring to go high end.

And in the middle of the road, there are Ecobee thermostats, which I can’t have enough praise of, right now I have four of them in my house.

But on the lower end of the spectrum are the little germs that many people pass by, and their quality is quite good from a manufacturer that is known for good thermostats.

I’m talking of the Honeywell Wi-Fi programmable thermostats. They can be found for under $100 each. If you know something about smart thermostats, then you’ll notice that they are stupidly cheap.

So they probably would be my recommendation for this section. You can have a look at them here on Amazon to check their current prices.


There are a whole lot of inexpensive options that are out there when it comes to building a smart vacation home. Knowing where to find them is the challenge.

Well, I’ve done pretty good research for you. These are my recommendations based on what I have experienced with a limited budget. I hope that you find this information useful and share it with your friends.