By Patrick Hearn
Homebuyers are getting smarter when it comes to their “must-have” lists. That is, more and more potential buyers are looking for home automation technology in their dream-home purchases. Smart homes sell more easily for several reasons, the most compelling of which is that these automation and security features can boost resale value by as much as 15 percent. When you consider that these simple upgrades are considerably more affordable than other renovations (kitchen remodels average close to $22,000, while smart home modifications aren’t likely to cost more than $3,000 on the high end), it’s clear that these in-demand tech features are a boon for any home on the market.
Highlight the value of the features offered by connected home devices, and they can sell the house for you. Here are the top steps to successfully selling a smart home.
- Emphasize convenience.
Smart lighting, automatic thermostats, and smart door locks are conveniences that can’t be overstated. All of these connected devices can be controlled via a smartphone, especially if you use a central hub to connect all the devices with a single mobile app. Ask clients to consider the ease of programming their new home’s thermostat so that when they walk in the door, it’s already at their preferred temperature, or to think about how great it would be to unlock the door remotely so a neighbor can drop something off. A growing number of smart home devices also respond to vocal commands through AI assistants like Google Home, Amazon Echo or via Xfinity’s X1 voice remote controller.
- Highlight safety considerations.
Most smart home technology features integrate with security systems, so checking in on the live video feed of your home from the same app you use to control your devices is easy. You can arm and disarm the system, check in on what’s happening around the house, and receive notifications if motion is detected. Some systems are linked directly to a monitoring station that will alert authorities for you if suspicious activity is noticed. (Buyers will need to set up their own security accounts when they take the home over from the sellers, but it can be done easily with the help of the security company or internet service provider.)
- Provide evidence of money and energy savings.
Energy management is a central appeal of smart home technology. Smart thermostats like those from Nest and August can save homeowners 10 to 15 percent annually on heating and cooling expenses. Smart lighting is typically powered by LEDs, which use far less energy than incandescent bulbs. In fact, the Department of Energy predicts LEDs will save a total of $250 billion in energy costs over the next 20 years. And the ability to program lights and temperature according to your schedule or movement through the home, means you use only the energy you need, when you need it.
Saving energy has two benefits to buyers: Not only will it help save them money, but it will also lessen their impact on the environment. You don’t have to just tell your buyers about the features, you can show them: Ask the sellers for access to their mobile app to show how much energy they save each month.
- Show how easy the features are to use.
Show, don’t tell. The traditional writing advice can also apply to smart homes. Talking about the technology can excite buyers, especially if they have no previous exposure to smart lighting, but demonstrating a smart home in action is even more impressive. Show how the smart locks work with geofencing, then give voice commands to change the lighting or the thermostat. When buyers understand how easy the technology is to use, they may get more excited about the overall benefits.
- Explain the future possibilities.
If you’re selling a home that lacks the components the buyers want, let them know the home can be expanded to include other types of devices. The majority of smart home technology features will work with other devices. Z-Wave and Zigbee are becoming the prevalent smart home protocols, with the vast majority of devices designed to work with these two platforms.
Knowing the ins and outs of smart home technology can benefit you as a realtor, especially as the technology becomes more commonplace. Not only do these features make the home more desirable, but they may also up the purchase prices as well.
Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based tech writer for XFINITY Home. When not researching the latest gadget or home security solution, he can be found looking for the best cup of coffee the city has to offer.