Are smart homes just another fad, an upgrade that’s just for the tech savvy, or something more important? Can they improve your life or make your home easier to sell? Keep reading to find out.
What Exactly is a Smart Home?
Smart homes are homes that use technology to automate tasks or make it easier for you to do things in your home. Examples might include a cellphone app that allows you to control your air conditioner from anywhere in the world or window blinds that automatically adjust based on the time of day.
You might hear the phrase "smart home" used along with home automation. Home automation is the subset of smart home tools that do things automatically without your input.
Smart homes are also described as part of the internet of things. “The internet of things” includes traditionally non-computing devices that have added internet access or other computing power such as a refrigerator that reorders groceries for you when you run low.
What are the Benefits of a Smart Home?
The most obvious benefit of a smart home is the immediate convenience it offers. If you’re lying in bed, ready to fall asleep, you can use your phone to turn off the downstairs light and turn down the heat without having to save you worry.
Smart homes can also save you those nagging worries about whether you locked your doors or turned off your oven before you went on vacation. If they’re part of your smart home system, you can check their status on your phone and flip the switch if needed.
Finally, smart homes can save you money if you use them to save energy. You can turn your air conditioner off during the day, and when your smart home detects that you’re heading towards home, it will turn the AC on so you return to a cool home. You can also schedule your dishwasher or other appliances to run at night when electricity rates are lower and/or the heat they create won’t affect your home as much as it does during the hottest parts of the day.
How Can Having a Smart Home Help Your Home Sale?
If a smart home makes your life better, it will also likely make a potential buyer’s life better — as long as they can see and understand the benefit. This means working with your real estate agent to find a way to highlight and demonstrate the smart features within your home. At the minimum, your home will be more memorable to everyone who attends your showings.
More importantly, surveys show that about four in five people are more likely to buy a smart home meaning the potential for more and therefore higher bids on your home. In addition, nearly half of millennials — who are likely to be young home buyers — already use some smart home products. If you're really trying to sell your home for more, you can let potential buyers know that 57% of Americans say that smart technology saves them 30 minutes per day, and 45% of Americans say that it saves them $1,179.60 per year.
Are There Any Cons to Having a Smart Home?
The main reason to stop and pause about upgrading to a smart home is if you’re only thinking about it as an investment. Historically, most home upgrades do add value to a home but not as much as the cost of the upgrade. There are no numbers available specifically for smart home upgrades since they’re so new, but you can probably expect similar results.
If you do make smart upgrades with an eye towards selling in the near future, make your upgrades appealing to as many buyers as possible. For example, you may not want to rely on Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to run your home as that may turn off buyers who prefer the other. Instead, choose apps that work on all devices. Also, pick upgrades that are easy to use or have an old-fashioned “dumb” alternative so you don’t exclude buyers who don’t want to figure out how to use the smart features.
Another possible downside to a smart home is increased electric use from having more devices, but this could be offset if your smart home helps you to save energy in other ways. Of course, the cost will vary by exactly what smart devices you use.
One final concern is the risk of hacking. Some experts view this as a realistic threat, while others don’t. If you’re worried about hacking, you might want to skip smart door locks, but a hacker probably has nothing to gain by changing your AC thermostat. And of course, device makers are continually working to reduce any threats to protect their sales.
What Does it Take to Make Your Home a Smart Home?
Making your home a smart home can vary from a quick afternoon project to a lengthy renovation. For example, you can add a smart Wi-Fi thermostat in about an hour. It only takes a few minutes to replace an AC thermostat (remove it from the wall, disconnect the wires, connect the wires to the new thermostat, and hang it up), then download the app and update the settings. On the other hand, a project like smart window blinds could take days as you’d have to install a mechanical motor and possibly run new electrical wiring.
Smart homes can definitely make your life more convenient. They may also make your home easier to sell, but you might not get all of your money back if you only install smart features as an investment and not because you’re using them while you live there. You can add some smart features by plugging in a new device and downloading an app, while others may take more work.
Contact an expert at WIN Home Inspection near you for any questions or for a home inspection. Alternatively, please call (800) 309-6753 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will contact you promptly.