Smart Homes — What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

by Krystal Rogers-NelsonJanuary 10, 2018

Smart home technology is growing rapidly—it’s expected to be a $130 billion industry by 2020. Predictably, millennials are leading the smart home charge, but all demographics are enjoying the powerful features these devices can offer.

What exactly is a smart home device? These are connected devices that combine artificial intelligence (AI) and Wi-Fi connectivity to help automate or streamline features and tasks in homes. Examples include smart lighting to automate your lights, smart speakers to control other devices and smart TVs that stream media and learn what you like to watch.

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To help you better serve your clients, here are some of the key things buyers and sellers should know when it comes to smart home devices.

Does Having Smart Home Tech Installed Boost the Value of a Home?

Buyer Answer
Sellers may ask more for homes that include smart features. When looking at homes, buyers want to make sure that the seller isn’t asking more than what the features are worth. Generally speaking, individual devices aren’t terribly expensive, but an entire house outfitted with smart security cameras can be pretty pricey. Buyers could end up getting a decent deal if they look for devices they plan to install anyway.

Seller Answer
For sellers, having smart tech installed can be a huge benefit. Surveys have indicated that 44% of millennials are willing to pay $3,000 or more to have or install smart features in their home. Needless to say, this tech is in demand. Smart homes can command higher prices and may be easier to sell as a result.

What Types of Devices Should I Look For?

Buyer Answer
In general, anything that is tough to install is a potentially good investment. Being able to bypass a long, drawn-out installation procedure can be a huge blessing during what can be a very stressful time (moving into a new home). Beyond that, this largely comes down to personal preference — smart security devices, smart lighting, and smart garage door openers can all be appealing to different people.

Seller Answer
Voice control is big right now — lights, thermostats, and other appliances that can be controlled by voice are probably safe buys if sellers are looking for an investment. Another big one in terms of resale value is a smart home security system. These systems are getting increasingly more high-tech, and the best security systems include great features and benefits like voice control, enhanced security options, and lower insurance premiums — which all look great to a potential buyer.
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What Benefits Do Smart Home Devices Offer?

Buyer Answer
Tons! The benefits of smart home tech fall into a few categories, often with quite a bit of overlap:

  • Convenience — Many devices provide convenience features, like the ability to control smart devices directly from a mobile device.
  • Security — Devices like smart door locks and smart cameras can help make your home more secure.
  • Energy efficiency — Many smart devices are designed to be highly energy efficient, like smart thermostats. These devices learn your temperature preferences and adjust automatically. As a result, they end up using significantly less energy because they know when to turn the AC or heater on and when to cut it off. One of the top smart thermostats, the Nest Learning Thermostat, can save you over $100 per year on your utility bills.

Seller Answer
From a seller’s perspective, the main attraction of a smart home setup is resale value. These features attract the millennial crowd, which is buying homes in increasing numbers. Between two similar homes — one with smart features and one without — the millennial buyer may be more likely to choose the one with the smart technology. That can give you an important edge in what is often a tough, crowded market. After all, while some people look for projects and fixer-uppers, most folks prefer something a little more move-in ready.

Is Smart Home Technology the Same as Home Automation?

Buyer Answer
Sellers may advertise automation features, like lighting and garage door openers, and it can sometimes be tough to tell if they are the smart features buyers look for. In general, smart devices are connected to the internet and communicate with other devices. But an automated lighting system could be on a simple timer, which is nice but probably not what you’re after — or worth paying a premium for. Make sure buyers always read the fine print!

Seller Answer
Yes and no. Smart home tech often has automation features built in, but home automation systems are not necessarily smart, so the distinction can be important to buyers. When shopping for technology to invest in your home as a seller, look for features like Wi-Fi connectivity, control via smartphone apps, and AI or learning capabilities.

What smart home trends have you seen with your buyers? Comment anything you think was missed!

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About The Author
Krystal Rogers-Nelson
Krystal Rogers-Nelson is a freelance writer with expertise in home security, smart homes, parenting and family safety. As a homeowner and mother of a rambunctious toddler, she enjoys DIY house projects, gardening, and arts and crafts projects. When she’s not writing or researching, you will probably find her streaming late night comedy shows, playing outside, or planning her next family travel adventure.

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