In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons. 

When shopping for smart switches, there are a variety of options including Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and Zigbee switches and dimmers; they range in price from around $35 up to $50.

Wi-Fi switches do not require a hub, however, they will require a neutral wire and can bog down some wireless routers.

My personal favorite smart switch is Lutron. It doesn’t require a neutral wire, so it’s very easy to install, and it’s great for older homes.

If you’d like to control your lights remotely on your phone, tablet or with your favorite voice assistant, you’ll want to pick up a Lutron bridge.

There are two versions; the consumer version is most common and is sold at retailers such as Home Depot. It is perfectly suitable for most users, however if you’re planning on doing advanced automations and connecting to a hub such as Hubitat or SmartThings, I’d recommend going with the pro version.

Anyone who has replaced a switch or outlet before is capable of installing a smart switch. It does get a bit more complicated when you get to multigang boxes and three-way switches, so if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, just call an electrician.

Be careful not to use a dimmer designed for lights on a fan switch; there is a separate switch designed just for fans.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of  Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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