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A Guide to the Best Smart Home Devices

Posted: December 10, 2019

Smart Home - Connected Home

Buying a home in 2019 means seeking options for a smart home. The gadgets that comprise the smart home of today make it easy for you to do things such as turn your lights on from your smartphone, stream music to a speaker, lock your doors remotely, keep a clean house, and more. Perhaps the most promising smart home devices enable you to unlock more than just convenience – they can also help you save money on the cost of heating and energy, they can alert you if someone’s trying to break in, or notify you in the event of some other emergency.

We’ll go through a variety of smart home devices that can enrich and augment your home – from voice assistants to various security systems, from water monitors to smart light configurations. The options are endless – here’s a guide to get you started.

1.) Voice Assistants
“Siri, when is my first meeting today?” While the digital assistants in our smartphones have helped us to establish a baseline familiarity with voice-enabled support, the idea of embedding a voice assistant in the house is still a novelty for many people. When it comes to voice assistants, it’s all about convenience. Asking about the weather, cueing up music without having to unlock your phone or computer, get instant help with a recipe – these are just some of the quick fixes voice assistants can offer. Google Home and Amazon Echo are the dominant rivals in the market – and while both do a fine job at answering questions, they offer different benefits that will appeal more to Prime aficionados or Google-everything users. Amazon Echo makes it easy to quickly purchase items with a simple voice command – like magic, your Prime credentials will ensure that an extra bag of dog food or liter or Windex appears at your door in almost no time. On the other hand, Google Home’s synchronization to the rest of your life – i.e. places on the map you want to search for, calendar appointments, to-do items in your “Keep” list, etc. Plus, if Chromecast is in your entertainment center, Google Home can act as a controller for video streaming throughout your home.

2.) Smart Lighting
Do multifaceted LED light bulbs have you fantasizing about controlling the vibe in different rooms of your dream home? Take your pick of explosively colored, vibrant options – knowing that once you go Smart Bulb, you are in – LEDs are addictive, multi-functional and come with a higher price tag than traditional lighting. If your entertainment and decorative urges call for LED smart lights, there are all kinds of options available.

3.) Smart Security
The idea of punching a code into a keypad when you come and go from your home is nothing new – with this reflex, imagine the added value of high-quality audio, video and in-the-dark security footage. Legacy systems required maintenance, long contracts, professional installation and the headache of accidental alarm triggers. These days, wifi-enabled gadgets make home security simple, affordable and foolproof.

Tools like NetGear’s Arlo Q offers this range of functionality, plus the option to customize how much or how little recording takes place depending on when you’re at home. An integrated system that works both inside and outdoors, such as Nest’s wifi-enabled multi-camera security system, is a strong option for homeowners with a large footprint and a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to monitor.

Looking to make life easier and go keyless? Check out the world of smart locks, where home access is a code away, and the experience is fast and stress-free. Plus, a household with guests or family members coming and going need not worry about getting locked out when the push of a few buttons lets you in the door.

To connect the dots between cameras, keypads and extended monitoring systems, a broadly compatible product like Ring Alarm is a helpful way to ensure that home monitoring is consistent.

4.) Connected Outdoor Devices
No one balks at the idea of a little music in the garden – add a little extra to your cocktail hours, outdoor chores and playtime with wifi-enabled speakers. There are dozens on the market – from waterproof mini-loudspeakers to high fidelity audio towers, it has never been easier to take your playlists with you as you enjoy the great outdoors. Don’t forget to consider whether a smart speaker is able to play music from the streaming services you prefer, and to check in on multiroom capabilities. A speaker system is multiroom when it allows multiple users to listen to different content throughout the house, with no interference. Everybody wins. And, while Bluetooth speakers are pervasive, wifi-enabled audio devices have many benefits. Better sound quality, a stronger, broader coverage range, and multi-room streaming are just a few perks of wifi-enabled speakers.

We’ve covered the exciting options available when it comes to smart indoor lighting. Additionally, a little ambiance in the yard goes a long way. Outdoor lighting adds a feeling of luxury and safety to pathways, trees, and garden beds – and is also a sure way to prevent tripping in the dark. Smart outdoor lighting amps up the experience by adding a bit of simple automation to the mix. Set your lights to a timer, and take “turning on the patio lights” off your mental to-do list, forever. Or adjust lighting by remote control, a smartphone app, a sensor, or even a voice command, for systems that play nice with Amazon Echo.

Lastly, emergency preparedness is ultra-helpful in the age of the connected home. Whether you’re upstairs at home, at work or traveling, the first step to ensuring that water damage is low-impact is early intervention.  Take advantage of a leak sensor to get instant notifications of any excess moisture in your home.

Are you eager to start building out a connected home system of your own in a brand new home? H&H Homes offers an extensive variety of floorplans that are waiting to be outfitted in the best tech of 2020, in locations throughout the beautiful Carolinas. Our versatile environments suit families and homebuyers at all stages of life. You can learn more about our full suite of options here, or search by city on our homepage. The team at H&H is passionate about building homes that will comfortably ease you into an economical and eco-friendly future. Check out our extensive homebuyer resources to learn more about our commitment to the best possible home buying experience. Get in touch today.

Why South Carolina is Ideal for Raising a Family

Posted: December 2, 2019

What's it like living in South Carolina?

Deciding on where to make your long-term home as a family is one of the most exciting decisions life will throw your way. If you’re thinking of making a move to South Carolina and are looking for a wholesome, family-friendly fresh start, we’ve got you in mind. Demand is high in the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area – where population growth is consistent and noteworthy, while the cost of living remains more than 8% lower than the national average.

Desirability and cool factor aside, there are many pragmatic factors to look into and consider when seeking to buy a permanent or to make a long term move with the family. South Carolina has a varied landscape with a mix of urban hubs, expansive suburbs and rural, unspoiled territory – as a state, this lends itself to a vibrant mix of cultures, lifestyles, and people. Fortunately, the metropolitan and suburban stretch north of Myrtle Beach is likely the safest part of the state – and is also home to a number of H&H Homes developments. Across a number of small cities with populations below 20,000, there is also a strong sense of community and many opportunities for neighbors to join up.

Another key factor, in particular when it comes to young families, is the quality of schools in South Carolina. We are pleased to share that Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and the surrounding environs have higher than average ranked public schools, and are home to a continuously evolving set of charter and private school destinations for young students of all ages. To great very specific about how a locale is performing when it comes to public schools, check out the scoring methodology at Great Schools. The local chamber of commerce also collected this comprehensive list of nearby schools for interested homebuyers who are honing in a specific suburb or neighborhood.

Proximity to a major city is yet another important consideration for new homebuyers. Steady economic performance and the promise of growth are often linked to urban destinations. Myrtle Beach has the best that cities have to offer – with a strong draw on visitors and a significant tourist season the summer – without the crowds, traffic and stresses that can otherwise accompany city proximity. And when it comes to an upward trajectory, Myrtle Beach is the second-fastest-growing metropolitan area in the entire country. In the past eight years, the area has seen 30% population growth – and with it a steady stream of jobs and amenities.

Any bourgeoning family craves activities. Opportunities to get out and explore and a variety of recreation options abound in the broader Myrtle Beach area, where amenities are the cherry on top of richly satisfying quality of life. The Grand Strand, a.k.a. the stretch of coast where Myrtle Beach is located is in itself a destination that draws many tourists in the spring and summer. Market Common offers you every opportunity to gather, eat and shop – all while enjoying fresh air and sunshine. Children with all abilities will be mesmerized by the groundbreaking Savannah Playground, a beloved local spot with endless activities for youngsters ranging from a music park, interactive playground, picnic area, zipline and more – and it’s all ADA accessible. In the future, a water park and paddle boating will also be available for use. Broadway at the Beach is yet another destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment – either for a date night or for the entire family. Broadway at the Beach features adventures such as a 4D theater, boating, an aquarium, and a wax museum. In addition to shops and restaurants, central gathering areas draw the entire community to meet Santa in December, or to hunt for eggs at Easter.

H&H Homes is currently spotlighting three closeout communities near Myrtle Beach, SC. Brookberry at the Farm is a beach community with careful touches, such as a tranquil set of ponds and soaring green trees. Your family will find comfort in the green-lawned majesty of the neighborhoods. Plus, HOA dues include a host of sweet perks such as access to the Atlantica Beach Club, two different pools, a fitness center, clubhouse, playground, basketball court, cable, and landscaping / maintenance of the common areas. Living within a few miles of the beach will offer lasting peace of mind for the whole family.

Another closeout community to consider is the cozy, high-demand enclave at Legend’s Village. Just one home remains at this quiet destination where houses are built on private, wooded lots, HOA fees are low and the beach awaits you a quick seven miles away.

If proximity to water is what most interests you about Myrtle Beach, look no further than Pelican Bay. Pelican Bay is a gated community with sprawling, private home sites, each occupying a half-acre. You’ll find ponds, cul-de-sacs, boat storage, a boat ramp and a dock on the Intracoastal waterway. There are abundant options for fishing and golf right in your backyard.

Whether the Myrtle Beach area is especially catching your eye or you’re simply seeking options to raise a family in the Carolinas, H&H has the perfect home for you. You can learn more about our full suite of floorplans, communities and cities we build in across North Carolina here or search by city on our homepage. We are actively building in up and coming communities throughout North and South Carolina, including Brunswick County NCCharlotte NC, Goldsboro NCGreensboro NC, Jacksonville NC, Knightdale NCMyrtle Beach SCPinehurst NC, and Wilmington NC. Get in touch today to learn more about us. Call us at 910-486-4864 or visit our website today to find out more about the many advantages of an H&H Home!

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