The prevalence of smart home technology is growing fast. In fact, a recent report from Coldwell Banker declared that 2016 will be the year smart home technology becomes mainstream. The report, called the "Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Marketplace Survey," found 45 percent of Americans either already own smart home technology or are planning to buy some this year.
Because smart home technology is becoming so popular, it is also a major point of appeal for those searching for a new home. According to CNBC, sellers - especially those who live in older homes - are increasingly installing various types of smart home technology to make their home appear more up to date and to increase its allure to buyers. Most newly constructed homes now have smart technology built in, and adding smart technology to existing homes may be the key to helping sellers make their homes feel less antiquated so they are able to compete with more modern properties.
Sabine Schoenberg, founder and CEO of real estate firm PrimeSites, spoke with CNBC about the importance of smart home technology for sellers.
"That's your ticket to selling the house," Schoenberg said.
Schoenberg explained that many smart home fixtures only cost a few hundred dollars, and shelling out that small amount of cash could make a big difference when it comes time to sell your home.
What is smart home technology?
As explained by Zillow, Smart home technology refers to home automation products that residents can use to control and monitor anything in their homes, from security systems, lighting and cooking to temperature, cleaning and water leaks. In essence, it is quickly becoming possible to automate almost anything. There is a Wi-Fi slow cooker and an automated personal assistant, and there is even an automated device that allows you to check in on and talk to your pet while you're at work. Smart home technology is relatively inexpensive, easy to install and it is making many people's lives easier.
Does adding smart home technology increase a home's value?
Whether smart home technology increases a home's value or simply increases its appeal is still up for debate. JP Endres, a Westchester County, New York-based real estate professional, told Consumer Reports that adding technology such as a programmable thermostat, smart lights, smart locks and a smart security system could boost a home's value by as much as 3 to 5 percent.
Other experts are not so sure if this technology will really encourage buyers to pay more for a property, but many say that even so, it will make buyers want it more. Hal Feldman, a Miami-based realtor for RE/MAX Advance Realty, told Reviewed.com that he does not believe installing smart home fixtures will actually increase the price of a home, but he does believe it makes a home stand out among the competition. Feldman said he has seen smart home technology help homes sell a lot faster.
Do only young people care about smart home technology?
It is not only sellers with a young target market who should be considering adding some smart home technology. According to the Coldwell Banker report, millennials are actually adopting some types of smart home technology at a slower rate than older generations. The report found that 40 percent of smart product-owning Americans over 65 have a smart temperature product, compared to only 25 percent of millennials who do.
What kinds of smart home products will most appeal to buyers?
The Coldwell Banker Report found the most preferred types of smart home products, in order of popularity, are: smart entertainment (like televisions), smart security and smart temperature.
What else could help your home sell faster?
Smart home technology isn't the only way to increase the speed of your sale. A pre-listing inspection is another great tactic that could help your home sell faster. A pre-listing inspection will alert you of any issues present in your home before it goes on the market. Armed with that knowledge, you'll be able to decide what's worth fixing and what isn't, and anything you choose not to fix can be disclosed to the buyer at the very beginning of the purchase process. That way, the buyer won't discover some major unknown issue during his or her own home inspection, which could cause the deal to fall through, or cause you to have to cover all the costs.