You can convert your rental into a smart apartment without angering your landlord

San Francisco’s beautiful Victorian-style homes were built long before the city became a bustling tech mecca, but they aren’t all behind the times. When locals Julia and Tyler Waneka found their dream apartment in one such old house, they decided to update it to make it a smart home. Their goal was to make their lives easier without spending a fortune.

The two had one big obstacle, though: As renters in the not exactly buyer-friendly city, they were limited in what kind of changes they could make to the apartment. Upgrading their rental could not include any installations that would upset their landlord, not to mention cost them their damage deposit.

“We were looking for a way we could customize our home as renters and really make it feel like home,” Julia told Digital Trends in an email. “Everything from being able to let guests in remotely, to customizing our lighting, to knowing that we can take a peek in on our dog Buster from wherever we are makes life a lot easier for us.”

The Wanekas picked out a variety of products that suited their needs, including an August Smart Lock, Leviton plug-in switches, a Canary camera, a Philips Hue light strip and light bulbs, GoControl door sensors, and an Amazon Echo Dot. All of them work with the Wink Hub 2; using the app, they are able to keep tabs on their apartment while away, whether they want to turn off a switch, see how Buster is doing, or let guests into their place remotely.

“I think smart home products give us peace of mind back,” Julia says. “We have a hectic life, so it’s great to know that we can check in on what’s happening at home wherever we are.”

It helped, too, that their devices have proven very easy to install and use. At the center of it all is their Wink Hub 2, which they’ve found to be “really intuitive,” according to Julia.

“The app walks you through how to set up each product step-by-step in a very visual format,” she says. “Connecting everything through the Wink Hub 2 made it easy to get the connected products we were interested in to work together and help us out with routine daily tasks.”

With their smart apartment up and running, the Wanekas are happy with what they’ve done and want others to know that there aren’t as many obstacles as you might think when it comes to making your place high tech.

“For anyone that’s interested in the smart home, just know that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get started,” Julia says. “We picked a handful of products that made sense for our home and lifestyle without breaking the bank.”