Installing a home security system can be a pretty inexpensive endeavor. On the other hand, it can also be quite costly. There are systems in all price ranges offering a variety of features. For the individual consumer, it is a matter of figuring out the budget compared to the types of features that are most important.
Figuring out what a home security system would cost you requires some forethought and research. It is not something that you can pull up on a website and figure out in 10 minutes.
1. Start With a Budget
Vivint Smart Home recommends starting with a budget. That is good advice. Instead of shopping around for home security systems and then wondering if you could actually afford them, it is better to go through your budget and see how much money you have to work with. Then go shopping with that number in mind.
Note that there are numerous things to consider:
• Equipment Cost – The first immediate expense is the equipment itself. Will you be buying it outright or renting it from a home security provider? DIY systems tend to offer lower upfront costs because you are not paying for installation.
• Installation Costs – Some people pay professionals to install their home security systems for them. Others choose to handle installation on their own. It is entirely up to you. You may want to consider a monitored home security system that comes with free installation.
• Monitoring Costs – Should you decide to have your security system monitored remotely, you are looking at a monthly service cost. You can also self-monitor if you do not want another monthly bill to worry about.
• Remember that a budget is a blueprint for your spending. It considers how much money you take in as opposed to how much goes out. Do not overextend yourself. Spending more money on a home security system than you can truly afford might lead to unintended financial consequences you would rather have avoided.
2. Get Several Estimates
Establishing your budget gives you a starting point for getting estimates. Whether you elect for a professionally installed system or go the DIY route, it is wise to get three or four estimates. An estimate on a DIY system is pretty straightforward. You just shop online for prices. Most companies will allow you to choose from a prepackaged system or build your own.
Consumers looking to get a security system professionally installed will need to have the service provider come out to their homes to offer estimates. It is no different than having remodeling work done on your home. Whatever you do, request that estimates be as detailed as possible. You want to know exactly what you will be paying for each item before you agree to sign sales documents.
3. Basic Security Systems
A basic, entry-level security system will give you a good starting point for pricing. Price out entry level systems and then work from there. These are wireless systems that usually include the following, at minimum:
• First-floor window and door sensors
• One or two wireless cameras
• One or two motion sensors
• A central hub.
Such a basic system will not offer you gold standard security, but it is enough to get you started. From there, consider adding additional components like:
• smoke detector
• carbon monoxide detector
• glass break sensors
• exterior video cameras
• medical alert system.
Obviously, every component you add to your system will increase the cost. You should also note that not every device works with every home security system. Choosing a proprietary system may lock you into purchasing additional equipment only from that company.
4. Consider Equipment Upgrades
System upgrades are part of the equation, too. You may choose to rent your equipment from a home security provider offering professional installation and monthly monitoring. That’s fine. Does the company offer free equipment upgrades over the life of your subscription?
DIY systems pretty much leave you to upgrade on your own. Every new piece of equipment incurs a new out-of-pocket expense. It is not all bad, though. Home security tech does not usually become obsolete nearly as quickly as your typical smartphone. You could invest in a system today and not have to upgrade it for years to come.
Integrating Smart Home Features
For a lot of consumers, home security systems do not get prohibitively expensive until they start adding in smart home features. For example, you could invest in a fairly priced security system with video cameras, window and door sensors, etc. Smoke and CO detectors might also be part of your package. But what if you wanted to control the entire system by connecting it to a smart speaker from Google or Amazon? The smart speaker would be an extra expense.
Having the budget to include smart home features opens the door to lots of possibilities. Here are just a few of them:
Smart Thermostat – A smart thermostat can be programmed and then forgotten about. It can automatically learn your routine to adjust itself. It can also be controlled remotely.
Smart Lighting – Smart lighting is more than just lights on a timer. Lights can be automated depending on a variety of needs. You can also program multiple lighting scenes for different rooms and different times of the day.
Smart Locks – Smart locks offer keyless entry using a keypad or your smartphone. You can even lock and unlock your door remotely.
There are tons of other smart home devices you could integrate with your security system. Each one adds to the cost. It goes without saying that determining how much you would spend requires that you make some decisions and do some research. There is no way for you to even begin estimating costs based on a single post like this. There is too much involved.