• Advanced, "smarter" homes appeal to more buyers, get better prices and even sell faster.
  • By 2020, experts estimate that the smart home industry will be worth over $21 billion.
  • Recent research found baby-boomers have three specific smart home technologies on their most-wanted list.

Most real estate agents are pretty savvy these days when it comes to using technology in selling homes. Online marketing, text response systems and apps meant for agents can all help them reach the right buyers for their listings.

But what about technology that actually resides in your listings? With the increasing availability of smart home technology, agents may find the more advanced, “smarter” homes appeal to more buyers, get better prices and even sell faster.

By the numbers

In 2015, market reports valued the “smart” home automation market at $4.4 billion. But by 2020, experts estimate that the smart home industry will be worth over $21 billion. A huge jump in just five years. But there’s more.

A 2016 study found that nearly half of Americans either already own or plan on installing smart home technology. And 70 percent of those who have this type of technology in their home said they’d be more likely to buy another smart home product.

Perhaps most telling is that 72 percent of homeowners aged 18 to 34 would actually pay more — thousands more — for smart home features.

Popular smart home features

Smart home technologies are daily becoming less the exception and more the norm. This is why it’s important for real estate agents to educate themselves about the different technologies, so they can demonstrate them during showings.

For a lot of buyers, this is the type of “wow” factor that could sway them if they’re on the fence. Some of the most popular smart home features include:

  • Smart security: Security has always been a selling feature, but smart home security include smart locks and alarm systems that connect to something every buyer already has: a smart phone.
  • Smart lighting: Smart lighting is often seen as a security feature, but those who have it in their homes can attest to its value in everyday living. Many systems can wirelessly control lights with a single button touch. Users can create schedules and control their home’s lights from anywhere.
  • Smart appliances: If you’ve ever gone to get groceries and forgotten to take a list with you or can’t remember if you have a certain item, smart appliances (a refrigerator in this example) can show you, via your phone, what you have on hand. You can also access your favorite online recipes from the front panel. Smart appliances include everything from your microwave to your washer and dryer.
  • Smart thermostats: Buyers can control their home’s temperature via their smartphone. These thermostats also learn when no one is home and adjust the temps accordingly, reducing energy bills.
  • Smart smoke detectors: Most would agree that they’d like to know if a smoke detector goes off in their home while they’re away. Smart smoke detectors are designed to let homeowners know if this happens.

Broader appeal

As mentioned before, millennial-age buyers (18 to 34 year-olds) have high interest in smart home technology and are willing to pay for it. But even in buyers 55 and older, smart home features haven’t lost their appeal.

Recent research was conducted on what baby-boomers are looking for in a home, and three specific smart home technologies made their “most wanted” list: wireless security, adaptable/sensing lighting and integrated technologies like thermostats and lighting that are smartphone controlled.

As smart home technologies take hold, even older buyers are looking for certain “techy” features.

Helping you sell

In 2015, 33 percent of agents agreed that homes with smart features sell faster than those without. Although smart features alone may not influence a sale the way a new kitchen or master suite might, they can certainly impress buyers and play a part in the ultimate decision.

As a real estate agent, keeping up on the trends and understanding the smart features in your listings can only help you — and your clients — succeed in the business of buying and selling.

Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Jackson Cooper

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