Smart home technology is becoming more and more popular among homeowners. In fact, per a recent survey by HGTV, forty-six percent of consumers want their current or next home to have smart home technology. These gadgets are beginning to reshape how homes operate, and they are influencing our industry such as staging homes, holding open houses, setting sales prices, etc. With products, such as locks, light bulbs, security systems, appliances and thermostats able to be controlled via smartphone or tablet, an estimated 100 million households worldwide had some type of smart home device by the end of 2015. Per a German telecommunications company, that number is expected to grow to 300 million over the next decade!
You may ask, what exactly IS a smart home?? “Smart Home” is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet. 1
Now more than ever, real estate agents need to be up to speed with the latest products and trends to stay ahead of the curve. As we mention in our CE class, Selling to Millennials, the Gen Y generation seeks out smart home technology specifically when buying a home. Representing a millennial Buyer? Education on this technology is key. Listing a home with smart home technology? It is a good idea to label these gadgets with a short blurb on what they do to educate a potential Buyer that may not realize they are there. Make sure you sit with the Seller and have extensive knowledge of the smart home features so you can show them off in open houses and showings! (Remember, over 46% of homebuyers are looking to have smart technology in their next home.)
Here are a few of the most common smart home gadgets you may see:
Amazon Echo or Google Home – These devices are smart speakers that respond to your voice commands to play music and control your smart home gadgets. With all the different gadgets out there, it can be a lot to manage. These systems let you connect everything to one hub for control.
Nest Thermostat – This thermostat not only lets you control your central heat & air via an app on your smartphone, it’s a learning thermostat as well. It “learns” your behavior with your heat and air and creates a schedule for you. **On a side note for our Austin, Texas readers, in case you missed it, check out this article detailing a new city regulation requiring smart thermostats in all NEW houses and apartments built in Austin.
Skybell Doorbell – Skybell is a smart video doorbell that allows you to see, hear, and speak to the visitor at your door whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go via an app on your smartphone.
Serena Remote Control Shades – This is just one of many brands of remote control shades letting you control your shades to add convenience and help save on energy via an app on your smartphone.
Nest Protect Smoke Alarm – From features like self-testing, night lighting and voice alerts, the Nest Protect smoke alarm is a very advance smoke alarm system. You are able to “hush” it directly from your phone and it also tells you what’s wrong as a pop up on your smartphone.
With all this being said, typically one of the biggest concerns regarding any type of technology to any consumer is privacy & security, which is completely understandable. If you come across a Seller that is concerned about privacy when selling their home equipped with smart home technology, refer to this nifty checklist the Online Trust Alliance and the National Association of REALTORS® recently teamed up to create. It’s a “smart home checklist,” providing consumers with information to increase the security and privacy of their smart home at resale.
FYI: The Center for REALTOR® Technology has set up a lab at NAR headquarters in Chicago to explore the latest in smart home technology innovations. Read more at CRT’s Bits and Bytes blog.