If you’re a real estate agent today, there’s a good chance you’ve sold and listed a house with home automation features. Connected “smart home” devices have gained popularity rapidly in recent years.
According to a report, in 2016, the number of smart homes reached 169 million and installations are projected to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent over the next few years.
With such rapid growth in recent years, it can be a challenge to keep up the home automation industry, let alone explain its myriad pros and cons to buyers. By explaining various smart home offerings and their comparative value, however, you can turn a possible unknown into a selling point.
What Makes a Home Smart?
Home automation features have been around since the 1970s, but were a concept way before then (think “The Jetsons” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”). But with the advent of WiFi-connected devices, the industry has exploded.
Generally, any home feature or device that can connect to the internet is considered a “smart” device. These items can be as minor as a lamp or as vital as a thermostat.
In general, smart devices sync with a smartphone or computer application where you can view data and control the device. Smart garage doors can be opened from your phone and allow you to check if you remembered to close the door without driving back home.
Smart smoke alarms can send a notification to your pocket if there’s a fire. Ultimately, these devices are built with two main goals in mind: convenience and cost savings.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types of home automation devices available, their function and price, and what type of value they add to the home.
One thing to remember is that most home automation features do not offer a big return on investment (ROI). But, that doesn’t mean these devices can’t be strong selling points for buyers.
Because the home automation market is so vast and varied, its value differs with each consumer. A young family might be much more interested in in-home child-monitoring cameras than other buyers; an eco-conscious client might be more concerned than most with monitoring their energy use day-to-day.
Once you’ve determined your client’s lifestyle needs, you can determine whether a home’s automation features are actually a selling point. Focus on the cost-saving aspects of automation and its convenience when making the case.
Paint a Balanced Picture
While smart homes improve people’s lives through convenience and cost savings, home automation is far from perfect. When talking to clients, make sure they understand all the pitfalls associated with the technology.
There is no real standardization of home automation software, so getting newer devices to sync with or talk to older devices is often difficult. Further, many connected devices require a monthly fee – so if your clients are moving into a home with an installed security system, they’ll still need to pay a fee to keep the system online.
Whether or not your client is interested in home automation, there’s a fair chance that some of the homes you’re showing will have smart home features. Make sure you’re familiar with various offerings so you provide honest, informed answers and help them decide if home automation is right for them.