Home automation has caused a fundamental shift in how homes are sold, and it has become a deciding factor for many buyers. Here’s how real estate agents can make the most of the “smart home” they are listing.

Home automation, or the use of “smart” devices and the internet of things inside homes, is more than just a trend: It has caused a fundamental shift in how homes are sold, and much like the famous curb appeal, it has become a deciding factor for many buyers.

So let’s take a look at exactly what home automation means, how it affects agents and the home automation features that are worth knowing.

The rise of home automation

In 2017, we saw home automation make its first big splash in real estate. Smart-home devices had become compatible with each other, affordable, efficient and ubiquitous enough to show up in every market — and they were so easy to install that they were quickly transforming traditional homes into smart homes.

Real estate agents found that many tech-savvy buyers appreciated home automation they didn’t have to install themselves. Millennials, of course, were at the forefront of this new development — they are tech-savvy, they know which smart features add the most value to homes, and they are willing to make buying decisions based on key home automation amenities.

Gen Xers are also finding out how convenient smart technology can be, especially when it comes to buying safe, comfortable retirement properties.

In 2018, the trend solidified. Real estate agents, builders, development agencies, landlords and marketers all took notice of this new interest among buyers.

According to alarms.org, “The percentage of people with smart products in their house is growing substantially with 47 percent of millennials already owning some devices while 70 percent who already own one product are planning to buy another one.”

Appraisers and others continue to find it difficult to put a number on home automation, especially in such a quickly evolving market.

Selling smart homes

So, what should real estate agents expect when it comes to home automation? Right now is prime time for agents to learn and adapt if they aren’t already familiar with smart homes and smart features. Agents who are able to successfully identify and discuss smart-home features can connect with younger generations looking for homes.

In other words, it’s a good idea to check out the smart features of a home and mention any notable automation to clients. This may take a bit of extra research because home automation features are not always listed or discussed as an amenity (although this is becoming more common and new developments embrace smart features).

If the smart home world has passed you by, and you don’t really feel comfortable talking about technology without the expertise to back it up, there are other options. Consider creating pamphlets that summarize the type of home automation a property has or directing potential buyer to websites that provide more information.

Simply listing the name and type of smart device is often enough for savvy buyers to appreciate.

Home automation products

Smart locking devices and alarms

Smart locks and alarms are at the top of almost every list of smart-home features that buyers want. Both these features provide excellent security without the traditional monthly monitoring fees that traditional security systems might have.

These smart devices can be monitored and controlled from afar with compatible apps. More complex systems add sensors, sirens and other features. You can take a look at some of the best smart security kits here.

Smart lighting

Smart lighting is also on the top of many favorite smart-feature lists. Smart lighting can be turned on or off on a schedule, via voice commands or through an app.

Advanced versions have app-controlled dimming and color changes.

Smart detectors

Another popular safety feature, these smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are long-lasting and will send you an alert if their batteries get low.

Smart thermostats

A smart thermostat packs a double punch: It makes it very easy to schedule temperatures and change the temperature on the fly, and it also helps homeowners save money on energy and get reports on their HVAC use.

Solar features

Modern solar installations often have smart features. This is particularly desirable among homebuyers looking for solar heating or solar electricity since it makes the system much easier to monitor and control.

Energy and water efficiency

Smart meters and similar devices can monitor the electricity, water or energy used by a home and provide ways to become more efficient.

Sarah Richardson is the founder, principal and designated broker of Tru Realty in the Phoenix metro area. You can follow Tru Realty on Facebook or follow Sarah individually on LinkedIn.

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