How Automation Can Increase the Market Price of a Home
December 14, 2017
If your job is moving millennials into their dream home or apartment, smart technology may top their wish list — and many are willing to pay more for an automated home. According to an article from Consumer Reports, adding smart features, such as lighting, thermostats and security cameras, can bump the selling price of a home by three to five percent. The technology can also help households save energy, a benefit that many landlords find pays for itself over time. Around 10 percent of homes already have some kind of smart technology and researchers expect that figure to double by 2022. Real estate agents are quick to point out that a turn-key smart home appeals more to their clients than self-installation, providing you with a golden opportunity to give potential buyers and renters what they want.
The futuristic curb appeal of a smart home begins as soon as the real estate broker unlocks the door from his smartphone instead of searching his pockets for keys. From lights that turn on at the sound of your voice to a dryer that alerts your phone when your jeans are dry, smart technology can make an ordinary house feel like a sci-fi set. Easy-to-install devices with the biggest wow factor on the house tour include appliances such as refrigerators and dish washers and home access features such as smart door locks and garage openers. Try to consider your budget before making plans. Smart appliances don't come cheap, but prices aren't much higher than the high-end models, so if you are planning to buy a top-of-the-line refrigerator for a luxury apartment, a smart fridge is a savvy choice that makes a big impression. On the other hand, you can replace an old deadbolt with a smart door lock for as little as a few hundred dollars. (You can show how convenient it is to unlock the door while at work to let in the kids after school.) Small changes such as door locks don't necessarily boost the final sale figure, but many real estate agents feel they make a strong emotional appeal to the right buyer and help a home sell faster.
Prospective buyers appreciate smart features that lower energy costs, including thermostats and lighting. These upgrades appeal to both the pocketbook and the eco-conscious attitudes of young homeowners, and the long-term savings can warrant a nudge to your asking price. Smart thermostats perform a similar task to the old programmable models, but instead of requiring you to punch in a daily heating schedule, they simply learn what temperature you like best by tracking your adjustments. You can also control the temperature from your smartphone, so you can lower the thermostat on your way to work if you forgot. When connected to a central air system, the devices help households save during both the heating and cooling season. According to a 2015 white paper by Nest Labs, their customers saved an average of 10 to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling, including households that previously used a programmable thermostat.
Smart lighting runs the gamut from smart light bulbs that swap out in seconds to hard-wired switches for a permanent upgrade. If you're on a budget, whole-home lighting control automation is ideal for small apartments, where you can replace a few bulbs or swap out several electrical switches. In a large house, both options can be costly, however, the initial expense may pay off for upscale properties. You can crunch the numbers by counting bulbs, and consult an electrician about wiring expenses before you decide.
Smart sprinklers and irrigation systems can help you conserve water and minimize landscaping labor, saving money spent on maintaining that lush, green lawn. You can manage watering from your smartphone and create seasonal schedules for different times of the year for optimal results.
Security is a top concern for both buyers and renters, especially young families. Traditional security systems typically include a monitoring service to notify police if the alarm is activated. Smart home security takes advantage of streaming video and push notifications on your phone to offer a new approach, alerting you to changes at home instead of the police. This innovation helps cut down on false alarms and opens up possibilities for multi-use features. For example, a smart camera in the living room can not only detect a burglar, but it also lets pet owners check on animals while they are away from home. Motion- and sound-sensors can alert homeowners to unusual activity and, when paired with smart cameras, can help reveal the cause of the disturbance, too. In large apartment buildings, a professional security company can monitor smart sensors and cameras on the property for an all-in-one solution. Many insurance companies provide a discount with the installation of a professional security service. According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners can save up to 20 percent on their policies, a point you can bring up when negotiating price.
Consumers are starting to ask for smart technology in the home. A survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate found that 61 percent of millennials prefer a smart home, and a similar survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting discovered that 65 percent of home shoppers are willing to pay more for one. You can get ahead of the curb by installing the new technology in houses that buyers and renters covet.
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