01 Feb Got Tech? If You’re Selling a House this Year, You Should.
Technology. For a long time, it seemed like integrating high tech features into the daily functions of a home was light years away, something more akin to the Jetsons than reality. But, in just the past few years, smart home technology has entered the public conscientiousness. And, as we head into 2017, it would seem that bringing the internet of things right into your home has quickly gone from flashy and unnecessary to a functional selling point that buyers are actually seeking out, especially the much talked about Millennial Buyer. And, whether you’re an owner trying to sell your home, an agent staging a client’s resale, or a builder planning your next project, there are smart home options that can easily be integrated into a new or existing home at any price point.
Smart Homes seem to be the logical next step in the era of the smart phone. The trend is still young, so there isn’t a lot of evidence to support the idea that smart home technology will bring a huge return on investment. However, surveys are showing that like any other technological advance, once you get used to living in a smart home, there’s no going back. In fact, according to a survey conducted by CNET.com and Coldwell Banker, 81% of current smart-home owners say they would be more willing to buy a home with smart home technology in place. While the idea of automated and connected living would appeal to buyers in just about any age bracket, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that those most adamant about smart living would be the Gen-Y demographic. And with Millennials poised to become a much larger part of the homebuying demographic in 2017, smart homes are barreling towards being a mainstream expectation, not an unexpected perk.
So as a homeowner, how do you work smart home technology into an existing home without blowing your budget? It’s not that hard, actually. There are a range of features, from the simple and inexpensive, to the full-blown, interconnected smart houses that are suitable for any budget and any home. Not looking to overhaul your home, but think your next buyer will be looking for some existing tech? Here are a few simple additions to consider.
- Smart Plugs: You probably haven’t given a lot of thought to your outlets, but for a cost-effective ‘smart tech’ addition, they’re the easiest place to start. Simply plug any device into a smart plug (like these from D-Link) and download the app to your smart phone to be able to control it wirelessly.
- Smart Bulbs: Another seemingly ho-hum home feature, the light bulb has become one of the most popular integrated smart technologies. While fitting the entire house with these bulbs could be costly, a few bulbs in a few well placed locations (think the media room or master bedroom) would be a great start on the road to a smart home.
- Smart Detectors: Whether for security purposes, energy efficiency, or climate tracking, there are plenty of cost effective ‘detectors’ out there to give (new) homeowners peace of mind right from their smart phones.
- Virtual Assistants: While not necessarily smart home technology, adding a Virtual Assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo to a kitchen or home office would be a great selling point.
These are all great finishes and features to ‘retrofit’ an existing home, but if you’re planning a new construction project in 2017, it may behoove you to look into more integrated tech options to set your homes apart. There are now firms in most major cities that will consult with you on integrating technology into your home, but here are a few key things to bear in mind while you’re planning.
- You’ll Need a Strong Wireless Foundation. If you’re going to be adding more and more ‘connected’ items in a home, you’ll need to accommodate for greater broadband and more routers than the standard home. Consider working these items into the design of the house (think built in alcoves in prime ‘router’ location) and be sure that the houses are wired for high capacity.
- Do Your Homework.
If you’re building starter homes, you may want to work in as many ‘smart’ options as you can – from thermostats to outlets to locks to security. However, if you’re appealing to an empty nester, you may be able to get away with a more pared down package – just a thermostat or security system may do. In short, technology use should be added to the list of demographic qualities you consider when building and marketing a new home.
- Know What the New ‘Standard’ Is…
As with any new trend, there is always some excitement around any and all smart home technology. But as the trend continues to develop, there will be standard ‘tech’ expectations in a new home, just like there are for any other finish. Knowing what your buyer is seeing in other homes in their location and price point will give you an upper hand when planning your own approach to tech, which leads us to the last point…
- …And Try Something New.
Right now, in early 2017, anything ‘tech related’ will probably give you a competitive edge. But, even 6 months from now, when everyone is meeting that technology standard we just talked about, it will be in your best interest to have a few ‘new tricks’ up your sleeve. We’re not sure how practical this ceiling tile that charges your phone is, but you have to admit it sounds pretty cool.
The future is here, as far as technology is concerned, so if you’re planning to sell a home, it’s time to start thinking like the Jetsons.