In May, Coldwell Banker launched its initiative to become the industry leader in everything smart homes. First, the company announced a partnership with CNET to create the definitive smart home definition. Then, only a week later, they launched the first-ever smart home certification course for real estate agents.

  • Coldwell Banker has expanded its smart home initiative with a six-item Smart Home Staging Kit, available on SmartHomeStaging.com for $999.
  • During the selling process, agents are encouraged to educate their clients about the practical benefits of smart home technology and the value it can add to their home.
  • Coldwell Banker CMO Sean Blankenship says the kit is an integral part of solidifying the company's position as a leader in real estate trends and will give its agents a leg up in their individual markets.

In May, Coldwell Banker launched its initiative to become the industry leader in everything smart homes.

First, the company announced a partnership with CNET to create the definitive smart home definition. Then, only a week later, they launched the first-ever smart home certification course for real estate agents.

Well, Coldwell Banker isn’t done with its smart home takeover.

Today, the company is launching the Coldwell Banker Smart Home Staging Kit, a six-piece set that allows agents to help sellers make any home into a smart home for $999.

What’s in the kit?

The kit includes:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm
  • Nest Cam Indoor security camera
  • August Smart Lock
  • August Connect
  • Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit

The kits can be self-installed, but Coldwell Banker suggests that agents and sellers use pro.com, a NAR-REach member.

Pro.com has a stable of service providers around the country that will install the products, help the seller download the necessary apps, give a tutorial on how to use each product while they’re still in the home, and how to hand it over to the buyer after closing.

Once the kit is installed, the agent can flag their listing as a smart home on coldwellbanker.com.

Why create a kit?

Coldwell Banker CMO Sean Blankenship said the idea for the kit came from the company’s consumer-driven strategy and continued smart home research.

“We were doing research, and it was confirming what we were hearing that buyers and sellers, regardless of generation, were interested in smart home technology,” he says.

“And the more we dug into it, the more we started seeing that large numbers of consumers expected that a move-in-ready home was smart home enabled.”

Blankenship said the featured items in the kit were chosen based on Coldwell Banker’s smart home definition that was released in May. According to the definition, a home must have at least two of these features to be deemed smart:

  • Appliances (smart refrigerators and smart washer/dryers)
  • Entertainment (smart TVs and TV streaming services)
  • Heating/Cooling (smart HVAC system, smart fans or vents)
  • Lighting (smart light bulbs and lighting systems)
  • Outdoors (smart plant sensors and watering systems)
  • Safety (smart fire/carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights)
  • Security (smart locks, smart alarm systems or cameras)
  • Temperature (smart thermostats)

The kit includes lighting, safety, security and temperature products, which are at the top of most buyer’s smart home wish lists.

Blankenship says the kit is the perfect opportunity for agents to become the conduit between companies and consumers, and differentiate themselves as leaders within their markets.

Shifting consumer desires

Angel Piontek, a Coldwell Banker agent based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, says consumers in her area aren’t necessarily initially looking for a home with smart home products — but once she starts educating them on what’s available, the story changes.

“It’s not necessarily that they’re seeking these out yet, but when they see them, it’s definitely a major selling point selling for them,” she said.

According to Piontek, it’s important to help consumers understand the practical benefits that smart home products offer — rather showcasing a manifestation of ’80s sci-fi movies and magazines.

“The technological revolution is dominated by all the interconnected devices,” Piontek says.

“Consumers will realize the convenience, the efficiency and savings that smart homes can bring into their lives.”

Coldwell Banker’s VP of North American Public Relations, David Siroty, says Coldwell Banker’s focus on smart homes is a proactive reaction to Americans’ evolving view on what a home is.

“What we realized a couple years ago is that the home itself is changing, and for the first time. This is really the greatest time in home history when tech is impacting at such as rapid pace,” he said.

“And we used to have — I remember the amenities that came: the cable remote, the microwave, the cordless phone. They were once in awhile.

“Smart home tech is going to change our homes, and the home itself wants to simplify our life, save us money, be intuitive, allow us to enjoy home even more than we ever have.

“Because of that, it just makes sense, and for our agents to really be ahead of the curve — not in a way that they’re wearing a blue shirt at Best Buy and know every product verbatim, but that they understand what’s happening,” Siroty added.

According to Blankenship, the Smart Home Staging Kit is the last smart home initiative for the year.

“Right now, this is about we can handle in one year — the definition, the training and the smart home kit,” he says.

But, he says the next step will be to work with national MLSs to update their databases and allow agents to identify smart homes.

Email Marian McPherson

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