The rise of smart home technology is making both buyers & sellers ask themselves the same question before deciding where to call home: “Is this a smart home?”
Buying a home is a big decision. Budget, location and the vibe of the house (could this house become my home?) top the list of considerations for most people when they are buying a house. Noticeably, “is this a smart home?” is making its way to the top of the list for buyers.
According to the 2017 Smart Home Marketplace Survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 71 percent of home buyers surveyed are looking for “move-in ready” homes. Home buyers want “smart ready” homes complete with smart security, smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights and other smart devices. In fact, Coldwell Banker affiliated agents note that the majority of top selling homes over the past few months in some markets, such as Miami, have smart home technology installed before the sale***.
There are two key trends driving this evolution in home buying behavior:
First, smart home devices, like the Nest thermostat and August Smart Lock, offer an attractive industrial design, are easy to install, have key features that allow users to save money or deliver convenience and peace of mind . The smart home devices also provide a simple and elegant user experience that makes them very easy to use while hiding all of the technical complexity.
Second, home buyers have become increasingly knowledgeable about smart home technology. Conventional wisdom indicates that millennials are early adopters of smart home technology. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Survey (August 2016)** found that over half of baby boomer and Gen X-ers are expressing an interest in smart home technology at the time of purchase. This clearly indicates that smart home technology adoption has moved from early adopters towards mainstream customers.
The popularity of voice assistant technology from giants including Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana) are also accelerating the adoption of smart home technology, serving as an entry point to the smart home experience. These companies have sold millions of devices and simplified the use of smart home devices through their voice interfaces by making it as easy as speaking naturally to control lights or adjust the temperature or lock a door. There is no learning curve beyond installing the device.
The adoption of smart home technology has had a significant result for home sellers. Homes designated as a smart homes on coldwellbanker.com are receiving two times more conversions than similar non-smart home properties* highlighting a change in buyer preferences as smart home technology becomes more prevalent. August Home partnered with Coldwell Banker to be part of its Smart Home Staging Kit, which packages three core products that help sellers make their home “smart.” The kit includes the August Smart Lock, Nest thermostat and Lutron lights for under $1000 – an investment that pays for itself.
The onus is now on agents to ensure that home sellers are aware of how a small investment in smart home technology can enhance the appeal of their property for buyers. By facilitating the procurement and installation of the most popular smart home devices, agents will bring new value to sellers and accelerate the rise of smart home technology is soon going to be a checkbox for every home buyer’s checklist.
*Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Marketplace Survey: A conversion in this instance is a click-through requesting more information on the property from an agent or a request for an appointment to view the listing.