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Smart Home Technology Will Change the Way You Live

By Lori Weaver | February 27, 2017

Whether you long for the days before phones became smart or you happily embrace the newest technology coming down the pike, technology's influence on real estate is here to stay. One area that is impacting agent and client alike is the increasing number of smart home technologies available and in demand.

The term "smart home" is typically used to describe a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely, whether by computer, tablet or smart phone. Home owners can see who comes to their door, visit with the family dog or adjust the thermostat, all while away from the house.

Defining—and marketing—smart homes

One of the challenges when it comes to smart homes and real estate is defining exactly what should be categorized as a "smart phone." We've come a long way since the days when an outdoor light timer was considered high-tech for the home.

Research has suggested, and many agent will attest to the idea, that smart homes move faster on the market. The problem is determining how many smart features a home has to have in order to be considered—and marketed as—an actual smart home.

Is a smart thermostat enough? What if automated blinds are also in the mix? With the marketing incentive tied to the descriptor "smart home," it can be tempting to consider a home smart if it exhibits any sort of tech-related feature.

Although most people think of security features when they think of smart homes, there are actually a wide range of smart home features on the market today, in addition to security-related technology. Consumers, particularly millennials, are looking for smart homes that feature thermostats that can learn your desired temperature based on time of day, appliances that start meals and others that build a grocery list, and blinds that open right in time to welcome the morning sun.

Understanding what smart home options are available and how they work will become increasingly important. Real estate agents can expect to work with growing numbers of clients demanding high-tech homes. Agents also need to understand how smart home technologies work in order to effectively list and market such homes.

Research by one national real estate brokerage found that one-quarter of all consumers own at least one smart home product, while nearly half of all millennials surveyed have adopted smart home technologies.

It has been suggested that a smart home be defined as one with wi-fi, bluetooth or some other means of keeping smart products connected. Secondly,  a smart home should have some sort of smart security or HVAC feature, and then also offer a couple of additional smart features, such as color-changing bulbs, dimmed lighting, timed appliances, music and more.

Here are just a few of the many smart home technologies already available:

    • Automated blinds that open to welcome morning sunlight and close for privacy at the end of the day
    • Refrigerators that keep track of items that are used and adds them to a virtual grocery list
    • Thermostats that adjust temperatures for various times of the day, according to a home owner's schedule
    • Color changing light bulbs
    • Lighter dimmers
    • Security systems, including video doorbells, that are increasingly customizable
    • Music that can be preloaded for playback
    • Light bulbs that stay on even when the power goes off, follow a certain on/off pattern even when your home is empty and turn on when the doorbell rings

Whether the industry adapts a standard definition for "smart phone" across the real estate marketplace has yet to be seen. However, thinking of a smart home as one that has either HVAC or security technology in place, along with at least two other smart features, does provide some much-needed guidelines for marketing these properties.

Smart home centerpieces
The brains of a smart home system is often referred to as the smart home hub or controller. But now companies like Amazon, Google and others have brought devices onto the market that serve as Smart home centerpieces, while also performing a number of other home tasks.

These devices have the ability to interpret verbal commands, enabling home owners to use them to hear the latest news updates, create to-do lists, act as a search engine, search for a recipe, play music, set timers, and more. But these same devices can also interact with other smart home features, such as security, lighting and HVAC controls. In this capacity, the act much as any other smart home hub.

Just as real estate agents need to stay on top of trends in such areas as kitchen design and architectural styles, smart agents must also educate themselves about the emerging advances in smart home technology. This will enable them to effectively list these homes as well as help an increasingly tech-minded segment of homebuyers.

Photo Credit: Pixaline via pixabay

Lori Weaver is a writer and licensed real estate agent in Lexington, Ky. With over 25 years’ experience in communications and marketing across a number of business sectors, she provides content marketing, writing and social media services to a variety of B2B and B2C clients, with a focus on real estate., real estate investments and new construction. In her spare time, Lori enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
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