Inman is putting the ease of creating a connected home to the test in this three-part series. How easy is it to set up, and can smart-home tech actually help sell a house? Part 1: installation.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

This fall Inman was contacted by MightyPR, a public relations company pitching the idea that a “connected” home can bolster its appeal to buyers.

The email said, “For just a few hundred dollars, real estate agents can use Nest and Google Home products to modernize a listing by making it a smart home that would appeal to the home shopper who appreciates modern gadgets, or just having a more secure, green and efficient household.”

So, we took them up on their offer, and a few weeks later unboxed the following:

  • Nest IQ Cam
  • TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug mini
  • TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb
  • Google Home Mini

Here’s part one of our experience in creating a connected home, our initial impressions of the products. The second part will entail a more detailed review of how everything worked together.

Remember, the context for this overview is to make the a listing more marketable to prospective buyers.

TP-Link Kasa smart plug

TP-Link’s Kasa smart plug leverages a streamlined, rectangular form factor that nestles home without interfering with other cords. A two-tone LED communicates connectivity, and there’s a hard on-off button on the end.

The app is fast and simple, and it easily navigates the user through the device’s seconds-long setup. Once it finds a Wi-Fi signal and its schedules are set, there’s little to worry about from there after.

The most sensible application for a smart plug is lighting control, and when it comes to showings, managing an empty listing, or creating an impressive open house, the sub-$30 TP-Link Smart plug is seeming quite useful.

TP-Link Kasa smart bulb

With the app already installed from the smart plug, getting this device up and running took under five minutes.

However, setting the schedules can be a bit more time consuming if you’re looking for mood lighting, which this has in spades.

There are presets that will activate the bulb according to circadian rhythms, or you can dive into changing colors every couple of hours or for each day of the week. The options are many.

TP-Link bulbs make any standard lighting fixture “smarter,” and like the smart plug, connect to Google Home for app and voice control. More on that later.

Nest Cam IQ

Technologically speaking, this thing is true sci-fi. Compact and beautifully engineered, it’s as much a physical specimen as it is an intelligent one.

Setup took a couple of minutes after the Nest app was downloaded. Capabilities range from familiar face identification, dog barking notifications, motion alerts, activity history and two-way communication.

The 4K-sensor camera is crisp, and it captures great clips even in low-light conditions. It also channels Google Assistant, meaning you speak to it.

No doubt an impressive mantle-piece, the Nest Cam IQ’s use as a listing value-add beyond sheer technological aesthetics remains, well, to be seen.

Google Home Mini

Compact and sleek with snappy set-up, Alphabet, Inc.’s response to the Amazon Echo smart speaker impresses out of the gate.

Having written and read plenty about the capabilities of such devices, I was surprised to learn that beyond the most basic commands and connections, setup can get rather involved. Actually, it’s been tedious. There’s also confusion about how the Google Home app and Google Assistant app work together.

As of this writing, a couple of hours have been spent on support, there’s been multiple hard resets, and the news can’t be read or voice connections to the TP-Link devices established.

OK Google, tell readers to stay tuned.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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