Whether you are planning on selling your home in the very near future or just want to know if smart home technology is a good investment, the answer will be the same! Today, more than ever, adding some key smart home technology or home automation items will definitely raise your property values…and of course make your life a little easier.
When it comes to home automation, the reality is that nothing is inexpensive. It’s an investment when you start adding security cameras, large wifi networks, home theaters, and more. But the upside is that, not only do these things make a home more fun and secure, they are hot commodities when it comes time to sell. These are features that people are looking for today.
Before we dive in, remember these two key points about smart home technology: smart homes are safer and, overall, will save you money! The convenience of controlling multiple devices in your home (lights, thermostats, appliances) will help you cut down on energy consumption and aid in making all your home’s key systems work more efficiently together. As for safety, remote locks, cameras, and carbon monoxide detectors (among other things) all protect your most valuable assets…lives. Cameras can deter and detect break-ins. Remote locks can be easier to operate in a time of crisis. Smoke detectors connected to your HVAC system can stop the spread of smoke and foul air during a fire. All the ways these technologies work together is itself an entire other topic that we will look at in the coming weeks.
Today, we are going to look at a few of the basic smart home additions you can make that will serve you well now and in the future if you plan on selling.
I think no smart home invention is as convenient and life changing as a wifi programmable thermostat. I’m not just talking about Nest here. There are several other more robust options available, it just depends on your personal needs and how much control you desire. The ability to adjust and monitor your home’s temperature from your phone just can’t be beat. If you’re just down the street or across the country, you can raise, lower or change many aspects of your home’s HVAC system. I have to say that, today, of all the home automation products we install, a smart thermostat is number one on almost everybody’s list as the first upgrade they make. Being here in the Lowcountry, many of our clients are second home buyers or vacation property owners and it’s a big plus when they’re house hunting to see that this basic need is already covered.
Smart Door Locks
Have you ever fumbled for your house keys in the rain while holding grocery bags? If not, I’m sure you may have struggled at the door for your keys for other reasons. Image if your door locks unlocked as you approached because it knew that you were coming home? Now, that’s convenient! Smart locks don’t just make locking and unlocking the door easier, they help you to keep track of who’s entering your home and when. If you have a handyman or maid service and they need to access your home when you aren’t present, you can remotely open the door for them. In addition, you can even assign different people different door codes that are temporary or expire after several days. Smart locks keep a record of when the door opened and who accessed it. All of these things raise the convenience factor of owning a second home or help alleviate the hassle of waiting around for contractors and the like.
We asked Sheri Nixon, with Keller Williams Realty on Hilton Head, for some feedback that she’s gotten from buyers when house hunting. “A smart door lock immediately shows that there are thoughtful details completed in a home and makes it feel more modern as you approach. My buyers love seeing new technology in a potential property. It helps make them feel cutting-edge.”
Years ago, people wanted to have dimmers in every room. Now, people don’t want to see light switches at all! Switch consolidation, hiding light switches, and adding remote control capabilities are what’s important. Today, companies like Lutron offer limitless styles and options for controlling your lighting and have one of the best and easiest apps on the market. Being able to set individual lighting scenes based on the season or who’s in the house is another unique selling feature. It really lets you feel like the age of the Jetsons has arrived! According to Energy Star, your lighting accounts for over 12% of your home’s total power consumption. Having detailed control of light intensity, dimming capabilities, and the ability to turn on and off based on occupancy, is a sure-fire way to save real dollars immediately in your home’s energy footprint. To me, controlling lights from an app on your phone isn’t just convenient and cost effective, it’s pretty cool, too!
If there is one smart home technology that can really make you happy, it’s got to be the ability to play your favorite music from a phone or touchpad in any room of your home. Today’s systems are a far, far cry from the clunky, hard-to-use speaker systems being used even as little as 10 years ago. Now, almost all music can be streamed wirelessly through your house and even in your outdoor landscape. According to Realtor.Com, home audio is a top ten feature that home buyers look for when shopping for a new home. The great thing about having your home wired for speakers is their shelf life. An in-ceiling or in-wall speaker can last for 15 years or more, making them not only a wise investment, but a reliable one too. A great feature of most modern systems is the ability for multiple users to play their own song selections in multiple rooms. What this means is that you can listen to Motley Cru in the family room, and your kids can listen to Drake by the pool, all while grandma listens to the news on the porch.
My top five list may be slightly different from some other home theatre guys, but I can tell you first hand that none of the above suggestions (and many others) just won’t work at their fullest potential if you don’t have great wifi and a great internet signal throughout the house. Think of your own home today and look around. I bet if you count closely you may have more than 20 devices connected to your wifi network. Count up the phones, Apple TV’s, tablets, computers, portable speakers, etc., and you have a huge array of devices, all vying for that wifi. If you are selling or staying in your home, having complete wall to wall wife and solid coverage around the patio or pool is always going to be a great selling point. Similar to speakers, the shelf life (or usability) of wifi equipment is much longer today, making the money you invest go further. Having a substantial network where your TV locations and printers are (or where they can be hard-wired) is very appealing to modern home buyers. Your Home Network is definitely an area that can make your potential “for sale sign” look more valuable.
Every item we just talked about has its own range of what dollar amount or percentage it adds to a home’s overall asking price. One thing each of them will do is highlight the sensibility of purchasing your home over others on the market. Not only does smart home technology raise your home value, a smart home is also easier to sell. According to a recent Consumer Reports poll of realtors, smart home automation can raise the value of a home by 5% or more. That’s a substantial number to think about in this ultra-competitive market.