Over the last year I have come into contact with many of the younger generation buyers that have very different ideas of what places value on a home in the times we are living in. One such repetitious question I seemed to get from this group of buyers was in reference to whether or not the home was a smart home or smart ready for upgrading to become such. After several times being faced with this question I decided I needed to look into more details of what some of the items of a smart home consist of. For starters, systems that can receive verbal commands of various tasks are primary and of course would not be an item left with the house as they go with a resident from house to house as they relocate. An example is the Amazon Echo that can automate music and entertainment by streaming songs and spew out news and weather updates on demand. You can even get it to call an UBER for pick-up. If you connect it to another accessory called “Home Advisor” it can schedule home maintenance items. So basically the concept is the Echo and other similar systems act as a hub for various accessories that are smart ready and connectable to the system. By the way this Echo Hub only runs around $180 or so in cost from what I could find online on average. For the house to be “smart home ready” a seller would have to select attached items that are usable with the more popular hub systems mentioned above. For example, the Haiku Ceiling Fan which can actually cost between $280 and up, is a smart home item to consider. This ceiling fan enables you to Change fan speeds and settings with a 10-button remote or using your mobile app. But ultimately, you can let the Haiku monitor and automatically adjust the temperature of the room itself or since it integrates with your Nest smart thermostat and Amazon Echo to boost the efficiency and comfort of your home it can be controlled this way. Now, who doesn’t love coffee right? While a coffee pot is not a permanent attachment the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffee Maker integrates with mobile devices and Wi-Fi software to create the ability for coffee to be made for you on your time schedule! The average cost for this little gem is around $190 when I last checked. Just keep in mind that there is a difference in what brings values….non-attached equipment that isn’t left with the house isn’t something that will add market value. However, the Belkin WeMo Insight switch which will hit you up at approximately $50 for each one you install, can be operated from you mobile devices. Further it can monitor your energy usage and schedule lighting patterns for when you aren’t home. Also, it is compatible with the aforementioned hubs which allow for voice commands to turn on or off! The Nest Learning Thermostat price tagged around $250, is also compatible with the control hubs mentioned earlier making it possible to change your thermostat settings with voice commands. It can learn your usage patterns of heat and cold settings of your thermostat and even reduce energy use when you are away from home. Another popular smart device to add is the “Smart Locks” which can run from $25 up to over $199 each. These locks can integrate into the system and for example lock the doors nightly at a given time as well as turn off the lights for the night. It also enables your ability to unlock by way of your mobile device as well as give a virtual key temporarily say to a visiting guest while in town. The SkyBell Smart Doorbell allows you to see and communicate with visitors before you open your door. It can even be set to send push notices to your mobile device to help monitor movement when you are on vacation with alerts directly to you! These come in around $130 each if you like this sort of thing. These are just a few of the many new smart home devices that can replace some of the old home accessories with new ones that are interactive and well as they call them, “Smart”. Basically an “Iot” which literally means “internet of things” is any device that can connect to the internet and transmit or receive data making it what we call a “smart” thing. With that said this means for security reasons proper installation should be completed. Secure you “smart home” it imperative to turn on Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2) encryption protocol when setting up your Wi-Fi, and use a router that offers firewall protection if possible. It is important to understand the capabilities of your smart devices. As an example, some smart televisions are able to listen in on conversations so make sure you go into the settings on any devices an adjust the capabilities by selecting which ones you want active and which ones you wish to turn off. Keep them updated when update notifications are indicated as often times these updates are in response to possible threats as technology evolves. As with any connection to the internet it is imperative to install some form of security software. Also, make sure the use of strong passwords are your practice and never leave the pre-generated password in place that is the default on the item.
So the REAL question is, “Does updating your house with smart home features increase resale value?” According to a study that involved a mixed sampling of 1250 buyers the results were somewhat impressive and indicated that it could contribute to a faster sale. For example 57 percent of those buyers considering older houses would view them as updated as well as more appealing as move-in ready purchase. Further, fifty-four percent said if they had to choose between identical houses, one with smart technology, the other without, they would definitely buy the smart home more readily. Parents that had children still living at home also felt similarly by approximately 59% when asked if it made a difference. (Coldwell Banker survey 2016 results) Interestingly when asking appraisers about smart home values most also acknowledge the value of smart-home technology and in most cases make “adjustments” when they compare smart homes with similar but tech-deficient houses. In general buyers rank smart technology homes fairly high when they evaluating housing options the survey showed. In regards to how willing they are to spend extra, most when asked were prepared to pay thousands of dollars for smart home features if existing prior to sale closing. All in all about Sixty-five percent were willing to spend more for smart-home technology packages, and over half definitely would pay extra for interior and exterior security cameras, network-connected appliances, doorbells with functions that send text alerts enabling allowing security cameras, smart air filtration vents and a variety of other high-tech items to be checked when alerted. So, YES Smart-home technology can definitely add to market values. However be advised that if they are to add to the value from the standpoint of an appraiser their are some criteria that has to be met. Some of the baseline requirements are it has to have either a smart security feature that controls access or monitors the property. Have smart temperature feature if not the security feature but preferably both. Further it should have at least two features from the following: smart refrigerators/washers/dryers; smart TVs and streaming services; smart HVAC system, fans or vents; smart outdoor plant sensors and watering systems; smart fire/carbon monoxide detectors and night lights; smart security locks, alarm systems or cameras; smart thermostats. This development has added yet another task to Real Estate Agents to make sure their clients get the best for the money they spend. Now Realtors must evaluate the census of the marketed area where your home sale exists and determine the averages who appears to be buying the most houses by age brackets and the average amount of families with children that buy in the area of your listing. Depending on these numbers and the amount of other houses that have added these items “Smart Home” features definitely need to be taken into consideration when choosing items to invest in when preparing your home for the market to sell and compete with other homes in the area. If you are considering selling your home contact me today for a free evaluation of your neighborhood statistics and clear view of the potential net sale of your home could be!