If you’re in the house hunting process right now, there are a lot of things you can do to make sure your new home is a smart one as soon as you move in. But a home can only become as smart as its WiFi is fast. And with many of us working from home, and WiFi built into everything from fridges to doorbells, the availability of high-speed internet is a major selling point when it comes to finding your next place. So the first essential task is to ask about connectivity before you even step foot in the home.
1. Start with the bandwidth
Whether you’re looking at a condo, co-op, or house, your agent can help you inquire about the current Internet Service Provider (ISP) setup on the property. Then, do a little of your own research to find out about the other ISPs who provide coverage in the area. Once you have that information, you can assess the different plans and speeds.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to find the fastest internet available. Before you even attend a showing, ask your agent if the apartment or house you’re considering is wired for a 100% fiber optic network such as Verizon Fios. At the end of the day, the more bandwidth available, the better.
Once you know what’s available, take a minute to familiarize yourself with the setup requirements of your chosen ISP. If it requires a technician, you’ll likely want to schedule that visit as close to your move-in day as possible so you don’t get caught without connectivity. An added bonus of going with a service like Verizon Fios is that self-install is typically available for properties already wired for Fios.
2. Be honest with yourself (and your agent) about your needs
It’s obviously important to take some time for an honest assessment of you and your family’s needs when it comes to a home’s location, size, layout, and style–but don’t forget about the tech too. For example, parents may be interested in finding out if all of the bedrooms are on the same level, but should also consider if their kids will be gaming all day every day. Similarly, a dedicated home office space could be key if you plan to work from home, but you’ll also want to make sure your wireless setup will leave you with plenty of bandwidth available for videoconferencing.
Being up front with your agent about all of your family’s needs will save everyone some time. Your agent can take all of your preferences into consideration when selecting homes to suggest.
3. Pay attention to architecture
Whether you’re attending a showing virtually or in-person, pay attention to the home’s layout and building materials. First and foremost, make your assessment based on your family’s needs and lifestyle. Then think about it in terms of where you can place your modem and router to help efficiently broadcast WiFi throughout your new home. In most homes this should be a central hub room such as the living room or an area where WiFi is used the most, such as your home office. Take note of (or ask your agent about) the home’s building materials; some are better than others when it comes to connectivity. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Floor Heating Units: Nothing beats waking up on a cold winter morning and stepping onto a nice heated floor, but unfortunately metal floor heating units can wreak serious havoc on a home WiFi network. If the home you’re considering has heated floors, just plan to place a router or WiFi extender on each level to help ensure optimal connectivity.
- Concrete & Brick Masonry: A WiFi signal can’t easily penetrate concrete or masonry walls, so they’re not ideal for speedy WiFi. This can be a big problem in older houses or apartments, so take some time to ask about the home’s building materials during your showing.
4. Plan a home hub
During your house hunt, and once you’re finally ready to move in, take a little time to figure out where your home’s tech hub should be. Ideally, it should be a high-traffic area that’s centrally located within your home, such as the kitchen or living room. This is where you’ll likely want to place your primary modem and router as well as any smart home command systems.
If you have a floor plan of your new space, map out where your modem, router, and smart appliances will be located, including any outdoor smart accessories like doorbells and security cameras. This will help you assess the likelihood of needing to invest in a WiFi extender for anything that’s located far away from your home’s main smart hub.
Finally, when you’re considering an internet service provider to make all the magic happen in your new place, don’t forget about the advantages of switching to a faster service. Consider a 100% fiber-optic network such as Verizon Fios, which can be less prone to lag than traditional cable internet. Plus, as an added bonus, currently new Verizon Fios subscribers will receive a free Amazon Echo Show 5. With your smart home devices on the 100% fiber optic Verizon Fios network, you’ll be well on your way to a more connected home.
When you’ve done your homework during your house hunt and taken care of tech setup on day one, connectivity can be the first thing you cross off your move-in checklist. Now all that’s left to do is settle in and start enjoying your new (smart) home.