May 9, 2016
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
Connected home products, such as smart thermostats and security cameras, can help you simplify tasks, save money on your utility bills and make you feel safer and more comfortable.
And they might even help you sell your home faster.
According to a recent survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, nearly half of Americans either own smart home technology or plan to invest in it in 2016. So it’s no wonder many of the homeowners polled said they’re willing to pay extra to “smart stage” their homes before selling.
We talked to a couple of Coldwell Banker agents to learn more about how connected home technology is affecting the real estate market.
How do prospective buyers react when they see connected home technology at a house they’re touring?
“They get pretty excited,” said Camden Schutte, co-owner and manager of Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate in Oak Harbor, Washington. “There’s the perception that when you think about a smart home, you think it has to be more expensive — it has to be a rich person or a multimillion-dollar house to have this technology. That’s not really the case anymore. So when people see the technology it gives off the perception that that home’s value has to be higher.”
Many Americans are anxious to add the technology, even if they haven’t done so yet. Of the Coldwell Banker survey respondents who don’t currently have the technology, more than one in four (27 percent) said they will incorporate it into their lives this year.
What types of products are buyers most interested in?
When asked about the types of pre-installed connected home devices that would be most appealing if they were buying a home, the Coldwell Banker survey found that most Americans want smart security (58 percent) and temperature (56 percent).
“You would never think ‘eye candy’ when you think of a thermostat, but Nest has done that,” said Angel Piontek of Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “And everyone loves convenience. Who doesn’t want to be able to change the temperature from their bed? That’s why I bought the Nest.”
It’s a seller’s market. But can connected home technology actually help sell a home even faster or perhaps drive a higher price?
“It creates excitement in the marketplace because it’s not mainstream yet,” Angel said. “If somebody sees 10 colonials, and one of them has an August smart lock, that’s cool. They’ll remember that home.”
And, yes, that can sometimes translate to a higher sale price, Camden said.
“Buying a home is an emotional thing,” he said. “So, if you have some sort of technology that intrigues buyers, it gets them excited about the home, and they start to develop that emotional connection quickly. … And, honestly, in this market where you have bidding wars, it may make them willing to go higher to get it.”
Most real estate experts say to invest in kitchens and bathrooms because they have the best return on investment. What about installing connected home products? Do they provide good bang for the buck?
“For less than $1,000, you can purchase a few products that can really upgrade your home, and it’s not going to cost you as much as granite countertops,” Angel said.
Homeowners are taking note. More than half (54 percent) say they would purchase or install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that doing so would make it sell faster, according to the Coldwell Banker survey.
In that regard, adding connected home products can have the same benefit as staging a home. “It’s another one of those easy, inexpensive ways you can add an emotional attachment and help people really see themselves living in that home and increase the demand for it,” Camden said.
But if you plan to “smart stage” your home, Angel recommends planning ahead so you can highlight the results. For example, if you install a smart thermostat, you’ll be able to show prospective buyers your utility bills from before and after you got it.
“I think buyers on the market now are more conscientious of the total cost of the home,” she said. “It’s not just about your principal and interest payments, it’s ‘What is it going to cost for me to live there?’ So if you can show the benefits there, that’s really helpful.”
Visit BestBuy.com or stop in to a nearby store to learn more about all of the latest connected home technology.
Photo above courtesy of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.