Smart Homes: Convenient AND Safe?

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 15 Nov, 2014
In our technology obsessed culture, smart homes are all the rage. And why wouldn’t they be? They offer conveniences unheard of just a few years go. Want to lock your doors, close your garage, turn off all the lights AND set the alarm with just the push of a button? Or how about have your […] The post Smart Homes: Convenient AND Safe? appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
Smart home hacking is already happening, according to an article published by U.S. News. In the article, Could Your Smart Home Be Hacked? , author Geoff Williams explains situations where hacking is already occurring including incidents where hackers infiltrated a baby monitor and a webcam. In another example, a security company released a public statement about a smart toilet manufacturer, warning a hacker could download an application and cause the toilet to perform any of its function including repeatedly flushing, which would waste water and increase operating costs for the owner.
It’s unnerving to think security vulnerabilities could give the bad guys access to our televisions, toilets, thermostats, refrigerators, lighting systems and other smart home products. Smart home hacking can be as simple as someone hacking into your home and constantly flushing your toilet, or it may cause more serious issues such as someone shutting off your security alarm so he can rob your house. “The real risks are the hackers who gain access to your devices, because if they can get into your thermostat, refrigerator and smart TV and begin listening on your network, then they can begin finding your usernames and passwords, and they can get to your financial information,” says Jerry Irvine, a member of the National Cyber Security Task Force and chief information officer of IT outsourcer Prescient Solutions.
What are some things you can do to minimize the chances your home automation system will be hacked?
First, avoid over-automating. An important principle of home automation should be simplicity. Automation is about people, not technology. It should seek to highlight experiences, not over complicate them. Too much automation IS a bad thing, and offers more opportunities for hackers to find a way in.
U.S. News also offers these other suggestions:
1. Hire only professionals to install your smart home products. Professional installers have the knowledge to ensure your smart home system is protected with a firewall. To that point, change all your passwords after the install so the installer does not have access to your smart devices.
2. Update software. When a device asks you to download an update or a patch, don’t ignore it. The update may protect your equipment from malware or other vulnerabilities.
3. Secure your phone. Smart homes are often controlled by smart phones. Be careful not to lose your phone, but also keep it locked so others can’t access your applications and smart devices.
4. Wait. If you don’t feel confident in the technology, give it some time. As more companies create more smart home products, the expectation is manufacturers will create better software to prevent hacking.
Next Steps
Photo Credit,  CODE_n

J. Thompson Builders Blog

By 7052540976 15 Nov, 2017
Some of these considerations may not be in the forefront of your mind, but there is a long list of aspects you need to consider when building a new home. These should help to get you started thinking about some of the most important pieces of the home building process.
By 7052540976 15 Oct, 2017
This home is being built with our client’s specific wants and needs in mind. The homeowner
requested a single family home with a modern contemporary house design. Previously, he lived
in a townhome and desired a more private, spacious residence. A main floor living with a large
space to entertain and big volume ceilings were a must on the client’s list.

The client decided building as opposed to finding a pre-existing home was a better solution for
him because he wants something specific to his needs. He already had the perfect location in
mind and it was time for him to own his dream home.

The area is ideal for this client because it allows him to live in close proximity to his hobbies and
interests and it also allows him the ability to walk to nearby restaurants or bike to the
surrounding shops. This homeowner will be close to everything. He truly loves the location!
The design concept picked is pictured below. In sticking with a contemporary influence, the
design has clean, simple lines that will result in an extraordinary modern home. We combined
elements of residential and commercial materials and design to bring our client’s unique requests to life.
By 7052540976 15 Sep, 2017

You decide that you are ready to build a custom home for you and your family. Now it is time to figure out how to finance your dreams!

Let’s start with the basics. As with any loan process, do your research. Talk to several mortgage companies that specialize or have a strong understanding/history of working with construction loans. Ask questions and voice your concerns. Companies of course want your business, but they also want to make sure they are a good fit for you and what you are wanting to accomplish. Reviews and referrals are strongly regarded these days. They want to make sure you have the best experience possible.

There are several main differences between a construction loan and a regular existing home loan. An individual construction loan may require a longer credit history  or a higher credit score as well as more money down and along the way. It is more of a process, but it is most certainly worth it. With the right builder, the more involved process becomes a piece of cake; but, that is an article for another time.

Home loans can have a 30 year term whereas a construction loan typically has a max of 1 year. “The rates on this type of loan are higher than rates on permanent mortgage loans. To gain approval, the lender will need to see a construction timetable, detailed plans and a realistic budget, sometimes called the “story” behind the loan,” as reported by  bankrate . While your home is being built, it is typical to make interest-only payments. 

If you are thinking, “I don’t have enough money to pay off a newly built home in 1 year!” Don’t panic.

A popular option is the construction-to- permanent financing sometimes called “one-time close,” a “single close,” or an "all-in-one" loan. Upon completion of construction, the remaining loan balance is converted into a permanent mortgage with terms up to 30 years. Like most loans, “the rate and other terms of the permanent mortgage are set up-front when the entire loan package is closed” according to the  National Association of Home Builders .  Construction/permanent loans are offered by many different lenders, including banks and mortgage companies and are a great option for those of us wanting to finance their home purchase over an extended period of time.

Another option is a stand-alone construction loan. This type of loan can be beneficial if you currently own your home and want a smaller down payment option.   Read more about stand alone construction loans.

There are many different loan options. What makes sense for one person doesn’t make sense for everyone. Make sure you find the right product for you and your particular project. If you want to talk over some options, contact us! We would love to hear your ideas and figure out how we can build your dream home.

View our work , read our reviews on Houzz.com , and visit our Facebook page to get inspired!
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Aug, 2017
Your home should work for you, your family and the way you live. Sometimes a new custom home isn’t the answer yet. When you need to maximize the space in your current home, find clever ways to make your space more usable by maximizing storage in unique ways. Platforms add additional space and a new […] The post Clever Remodeling Ideas to Maximize Storage Space appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 15 Jul, 2017
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By Jeremy Thompson 01 Jul, 2017
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By Jeremy Thompson 15 Jun, 2017
We’ve offered you lots of advice over the years about building a custom home. Here is a condensed version of some of the most important tips to follow. Get on the fast track to planning your new custom home! 7 Tips for Building a Custom Home Pay attention to your subdivision covenants. Yes, these are […] The post Building a Custom Home: 7 Quick Tips appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Jun, 2017
Whether building a house or undertaking a remodel you have the opportunity to design your house to suit your tastes and needs. There are many flooring options available, each with unique characteristics and design. Since flooring is a long-lasting part of the house it is important to choose the right floor for each room that […] The post 5 High-Quality Flooring Options Available for Your Home appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 15 May, 2017
Building a new home is an exciting time, filled with anticipation and satisfaction as you watch your vision come to life. However, it can also be a little overwhelming when you’re unfamiliar with some of the technical terms. To help remedy this we’ve defined a few of the custom home building terms you may hear […] The post 5 Key Terms to Understand in Custom Home Building appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 May, 2017
Whether you’ve just unpacked your first box or you’ve been living in your house for years, chances are there’s something about your home you’ve desired improving. However, before beginning a project there are a few key home remodeling terms you should become familiar with. Understanding these terms will help you navigate conversations with your remodeling […] The post 6 Key Home Remodeling Terms to Understand Before Beginning a Project appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
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