As more homeowners install smart devices in their homes, from smart thermostats to integrated entertainment systems, the number of smart homes on the market with these features is also increasing. The good news is that buyers are willing to pay for certain smart features; in fact, according to one survey, nearly 75 percent of millennials are willing to pay up to $1,500 for smart features in their home.
As a Realtor, smart technology presents a number of advantages — how much easier is it, for example, to use a smart security system that remotely locks and unlocks doors than to acquire keys? However, effectively selling homes with this technology involves a bit more than simply pointing out the cool features that a home has. You need to be aware of a few key issues, and be prepared to help buyers see the advantages of the smart technology.
Not All Smart Technology Will Stay
The first thing to keep in mind when selling smart homes is that the Internet of Things gadgets may not all stay with the home. A smart thermostat, remote controlled lighting, and certain appliances are likely to be included, but check with the sellers to make sure that all of the technology that will wow buyers is going to convey in the sale. Specify in the contract what is included, so no one is surprised after the closing.
Data Is Your Friend
One of the major benefits of home automation products is the way they can reduce costs. A smart thermostat, for example, can potentially save 10 percent to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills by automatically adjusting the temperature according to determined settings and behaviors. But you don’t have to take a seller’s word for it. Smart devices typically offer detailed reports that you can show buyers, demonstrating the value in purchasing a property that is equipped with these devices.
However, be aware that certain smart devices can also trigger disclosures that might not have otherwise been an issue. For example, some monitors might indicate moisture issues that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. From a buyer’s perspective, this is a good thing, but when you are representing sellers, you need to be aware of these issues and be prepared to help your clients either arrange for repairs or adjust the asking price accordingly.
Also, don’t overlook privacy issues when it comes to conveying smart technology. Changing ownership requires establishing new accounts and protecting personal information from both the buyer and the seller. The Online Trust Alliance offers a checklist for safely transferring ownership of such devices while still protecting privacy; go over this list with the seller and the buyer to ensure all of the steps are covered and everyone’s personal information remains secure.
Showing Smart Homes
Effectively showcasing and explaining the benefits of a smart home can lead to higher offers and faster sales. Before you begin showing homes, consider the following:
1. Ask the sellers to clearly mark each included smart device, indicating what it does and how it works. If there are remote controls required, make sure they are accessible and functional.
2. If you don’t know how to work devices, ask the homeowners for a training session before showings. When other agents request a showing, confirm that they can also use the devices.
3. Stage homes with smart technology to highlight the functions and benefits of the devices. Let buyers imagine being able to manage their lives from their refrigerator, or automatically adjust lighting based on the weather.
4. Demonstrate the technology as you sell the home. Show lighting schemes, demonstrates how automatic shades and blinds work, point out the features on kitchen appliances.
5. Show prospective buyers how devices are controlled and connected to the internet. If the home has a central hub, show where it is and how it works. Sellers should consider developing a guide to the technology, so buyers aren’t intimidated by it but rather see the benefits and ease of use.
Of course, if a home doesn’t have any smart features, that shouldn’t dissuade buyers from considering a property. Even older homes can be retrofitted with smart technology, and a reluctant buyer may be swayed by the option of adding his or her own technology to the home. As the agent, it’s your job to help your clients see those possibilities — and to understand the role of smart technology in the home.