by Justin Nedell
Buying a new home is exciting, but imagine walking into the home you’re interested in and asking the built-in assistant in the speakers to play classical music for a little added relaxation – suddenly Tchaikovsky plays in every room of the house as you’re touring them. Maybe you’re curious how to pronounce Tchaikovsky? Again, your smart home hub is here to help. Talk about a good first impression – welcome to the Smart Home.
It’s not breaking news that these technologies exist, but with many people spending more time at home – as remote work becomes more permanent for many – smart home features will be all the more important for homebuyers. Syncing up work life and personal life with smart home features can make life a little bit easier and save money too. According to Realtor.com for 2020, 4-in-10 Americans were found to be considering the addition of smart tech to their home and more than 60% wanted to add more to their current setup. Orders for smart home tech are expected to double from 2019 to 2023, according to eMarketer, so it appears that 2021 is going to push demand even further.
SMART HOMES MAKE FOR HAPPY HOMEBUYERS (& REAL ESTATE AGENTS TOO)
Better tech in a home leads to a quicker closing and happier homebuyers. A survey conducted by Coldwell Banker & T3 Sixty revealed that 82% of agents and brokers said that smart home technology streamlines a home sale. It’s important for real estate agents to really understand the value of smart home technology and highlight it as a selling point in the home.
Having a smart home can also boost the value of a not-so-great listing more than spending money on landscaping, for example, as tech appeal is starting to trump curb appeal. All these points of technology allow for a stronger conversation to take place between real estate agents and interested buyers as well. People love pizazz, right? Wow them with smart home technology.
As consumers understand the features & benefits related to smart home tech, especially those that save them time and money, they’re beginning to seek them out in their own spaces. Energy efficiency, for example, ranked at the top of important smart home features across the board, according to a 2020 Realtor.com survey.
Other benefits of smart home tech include:
- Upgraded security with smart-enabled internal/external cameras
- Lower installation costs with easy-to-install devices
- Increased productivity with remote-controlled devices
- Better health with smart-enabled air filtration, water filtration, and more
- Enhanced comfort at home with adaptive lighting, heating, and cooling
- Improved productivity with whole-house WiFi connectivity and other technologies
65% of surveyed homebuyers said they’d be willing to spend more for smart-home technology packages.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting discovered that an astounding “sixty-five percent [of participants] said they’d be willing to spend more for smart-home technology packages”, highlighting “interior and exterior security cameras, network-connected appliances, doorbells that send owners text alerts enabling them to check security cameras, smart air filtration vents and a variety of other high-tech items.”
Baby boomers are no exception when it comes to having smart features in their homes. According to research that was conducted by Hanley Wood, baby boomers show interest in smart tech like security cameras and thermostats as well as adaptive lighting.
Across the board, buyers are becoming more comfortable with smart-enabled technology, and soon these features will become standard expectations.
SMART HOME TECH THAT WILL SHAPE 2021
Note: One caveat for these devices to work together is having a smartphone or app-enabled device that can control them. An iPad or tablet will do just fine, but think of it like having a remote control for the TV that has no buttons (yes, they exist). Without that remote, you can’t really do much with your TV.
Easy to Install Smart Speakers
This is arguably the most important, and easiest, part of creating a smart home because it’s where everything can be controlled by simply speaking. You’ve likely already heard of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home (aka Google Assistant), and Apple’s HomePod, but there are other manufacturers competing in this $4 billion smart speaker industry (CES stats from 2020). The setup requires a smartphone, a WiFi connection, and an outlet to power the speaker – simple enough.
The beauty of syncing up these speakers and other smart devices is that they all know where they’re located based on the room name you attach to them. While sitting in your office you may realize you left the lights on in the living room and say, “Hey Google, turn off the lights in the living room.” Suddenly, you’ve cut down on energy costs without leaving your seat.
Other voice commands include asking about events on your calendar for the day, finding out the score of the latest baseball game, or setting a reminder to take out the trash during your break from meetings.
Smart Thermostats That Cut Down Utility Bills
Smart-enabled thermostats are a popular and easy-to-install option. After replacing your old-school thermostat, connect over WiFi and control the temperature from your phone. These devices can also adjust temperatures according to your routines and behaviors to help you save money on heating and cooling.
In fact, Nest thermostats claim savings of 10% on heating bills and 15% on air conditioning, and ecobee surpasses that with potential savings of up to 23% annually, according to smartneighbor.com. Forgetting to adjust your settings when you’re away is one of the biggest money wasters. When 48% of your utility costs are related to this small device, the savings really add up. Despite the ease of setting a smart thermostat up, most homebuyers are going to be happy having this already taken care of upon move.
Again, highlighting these savings up front is a huge selling point for homebuyers who might be on the high end of their budget with this home purchase.
Smart Appliances That Make Life Easier
Your refrigerator can now remind you to buy more milk. With smart-enabled refrigerators, keep tabs on what is in your fridge and get recipe ideas based on your inventory as well. It sure comes in handy when you’re at the store and can’t remember if you need eggs or not.
Smart washers and dryers offer features like cycle status notifications on your device so you can keep on schedule when laundry is piling high. Similarly, these washers and dryers can be activated remotely so you can start a load that will finish up when your meeting ends (preloading required).
Smart appliances not only have amazing features to help you save time on shopping and chores, but many also come with remote diagnostics, so any issue can be repaired more easily. Some problems can even be fixed without waiting for a visit from a repair person.
Smart-Enabled Security That Boosts Safety
Ding, dong. Who’s there? Find out by opening the app on your phone to see a live stream of your front door, even if you’re actually in Hong Kong. You can even talk to the person like you could with an intercom. These devices add an extra layer of security that might make homebuyers feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar area.
According to research from Realtor.com, doorbell cameras are likely to eclipse traditional and remote-controlled security security cameras because of their ease of installment and ability to provide two-way communication.
All these trends point towards a future of energy-efficient and smart-enabled homes being more desirable. As virtual tours and sight unseen offers become more common, real estate agents and home sellers should consider how smart home features help a listing sell faster.