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Smart home tech grows in real estate

By Mike Wheatley | March 17, 2015

The real estate world tends to think of technology in terms of websites and apps. But it's a big housing world out there, and tech finds its way into our real estate lives in myriad ways.


Always fumbling to find your house keys? Sure, there are apps out there that will unlock the door via your cellphone. But maybe you're always fumbling to find your phone, too. So a fledgling company is trying to raise cash on Kickstarter to fund the development of an attachment to your door that will open a deadbolt lock when it recognizes your secret knock.

The product is called Sesame, and its developer is a firm called Candy House, which aims, eventually, to sell Sesame for $99. (It also promises to work as a simple phone app, but that's a lot less fun than a secret knock, don't you think?)

Pinmaniacs, take note: The Trulia real estate listings site has added a feature called Boards to its site and to its apps. Think of Boards as a real estate-oriented Pinterest: If you see a listing on Trulia that piques your interest, you can tap on a heart icon within the listing, and the designated house will be stored for reference on your Board. And when you add to your Board, the people you've designated — your real-estate agent, friend, grandma, whomever — will receive an email notification and can check it out. Your collaborators also will be able to add homes to your Board that they think you'll like. Or not like: If you're trying to send your agent a message about which kinds of houses you're definitely not keen on, you could create a Board for that too.

Wish you could cut out that upstairs racket? Perhaps one day you'll be able to tune out the noise with a citrus touch. Researchers in Spain have turned waste material from orange trees into acoustic insulation that they say is more efficient at noise reduction than the laminated gypsum boards that are commonly used to make walls and ceilings more sound-resistant.

Obviously, turning a natural, recycled product into acoustic insulation has its green aspects. But bear in mind that in creating the insulation, the treated orange-tree trimmings are combined with polypropylene, a kind of plastic. The product is not yet commercially available, according to

What makes a home smart? There's lots of talk out there about smart homes, but nobody quite agrees on what exactly makes a home smart. Coldwell Banker Real Estate recently surveyed its agents about what their clients say they're looking for in that category, and 65 percent said homebuyers are seeking security technology. (See knock-knock door, above.) Other automated features that scored high: temperature control (57 percent of agents named it); a vaguely defined "safety" category drew a yes from 48 percent; lighting (46 percent); entertainment (42 percent); and appliances (23 percent).

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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