Are buyers looking for a smart home?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- September 2021
Home automation has never been more popular. It’s easy to predict that this trend will continue to explode as more of us add home automation and internet of things (IoT) devices to our properties. But this leads us to wonder are buyers looking for a smart home?
Turning your property into a smart home requires a sizeable investment with little guarantee that potential buyers will see the value and want to pay extra, or so you might think.
The reality is more buyers are looking for these features and are willing to pay for them. Some might be wary at the start as they are yet to experience living in or using a smart home. However, with gentle guidance and some experimenting, they quickly see the value.
Whether you’re at the planning stage and considering what smart home system to use or have already installed one and are looking to sell your property, we’ll help you navigate the topic. By the end, you’ll be able to answer: Are buyers looking for a smart home?
What is a smart home?
A smart home is where different components talk to each other using either wireless or wired digital signals. You can control these devices with ease from anywhere with Wi-Fi.
For example, imagine being able to close your curtains while you’re at the pub having a drink or turning the heating up as you leave the office as the temperature’s dropped.
While these are quite basic examples of what a smart home can do, you should be able to see how home automation can change your life!
At the other end of the smart home spectrum, imagine your home automation system responding to its environment without you having to do anything.
Your home would wake you slowly with your favourite music and soft lighting while opening the curtain. In your kitchen, a coffee machine brews a fresh cup of coffee. Plus, your home’s temperature is perfect! As you leave for the office, your home responds and awaits your return!
Overall, a smart home system allows you to control lighting, power socket, curtains, heating, vacuuming, opening/shutting gates, TV/home cinema set ups and more. If it’s a repeatable task, there’s a high possibility you can automate it.
If you’re new to the world of home automation, then you might want to start with our guide to the best home automation system for DIY, which explore the popular options currently available.
What smart home features are buyers looking for?
Most potential buyers are looking for a few elements that are simple to add to a property.
Even if the idea of being able to control your lights, plugs and curtains remotely doesn’t appeal to you, improving your home’s security will.
You could add a few strategically placed wireless cameras around the outside of your home. These activate and start recording when they sense movement nearby. As they connect to your Wi-Fi, you can check your home is safe from anywhere.
Another worthwhile feature to consider is swapping your current door lock for a smart one. These turn your current deadbolt lock into something far more sophisticated. Using access codes that can be set and deleted remotely, you can control who enters your house and when.
Depending on what you have, turning your regular blinds into smart ones is fairly straightforward as you only need a motor. Of course, you’ll want a motor that is controllable by your home automation system.
Curtains are much harder as you’ll need to replace your curtain poles with automated ones. They do cost quite a bit but are well worth it as you no longer need to get up and move to close the curtains!
No homeowner wants to heat their home when it’s empty or even vacant rooms for that matter. The most basic way to automate your boiler is by changing your thermostat to a smart one.
As smart thermostats observe how you use your boiler and then start to automatically adjust it to work in line with what it thinks you’ll do, your home can respond to your needs.
The next level up is to change all of your radiator valves for smart TRV valves allowing you to control the temperature of each room. These changes should reduce your household bills.
Here are a few bright ideas (pun intended) for automating your lighting. You could use smart bulbs in your living room, dining room and kitchen, which can be controlled either by your smartphone or current light switches.
You could replace your current light switches with smart ones, allowing you to use your existing bulbs yet with smarter options! You could then great a few different preset scenes, allowing you to turn on/off multiple lights with a single click.
Enjoy your favourite tunes without annoying the person in the next room is possible with a multi-room audio system yet when it’s party time, every speaker can play the same song! The reigning champion is Sonos, which is so simple to set up, a child could!
Of course, there are plenty of other features you could automate such as a cinema room/TV snug, swimming pool and voice control. However, it’s worth sticking with the basics unless you plan to live in your home for a while.
Potential return on investment
It’s pretty much impossible to categorically state what your return on investment will be after selling your smart home. That said, the quickest way to lose money, just as with any other home improvement project is to buy a Bentley when your target market is driving Fords!
What I mean is spend sensibly. Look for deals when buying smart devices or negotiate a better price when purchasing a few items. Don’t call your local home automation dealer and pledge to install a five- or six-figure system, unless you have a multi-million-pound house.
Again, focus on adding features that are essential, easy to operate and don’t require you to rewire your home to add them. By following these simple steps, you’ll improve your chances of making a decent return while keeping your home automation costs reasonable.
Making it easy for your buyer to use the system
Most potential buyers might want a smart home but don’t have a clue where to start or even, what’s possible. So you’ll want to explain your system to the estate agent and ensure they include details in the particulars. You’ll also way to demonstrate your system to the agent.
If you can, talk with potential buyers and explain why you’ve installed a smart home system and how it’s enhanced your life. There’s nothing quite like hearing it directly from a current user.
After you’ve sold your home, it’s worth compiling manuals for every device into a single folder. You should take the time to write up a set of instructions and film some basic videos showing off the system.
Be aware that your buyer might want a full demonstration of the system when they’ve moved in and could even want to pick your brains over email/phone while they settle in.
So, be prepared to help your buyer get used to the system!
Help! My buyer demands I remove the smart home system before completing
The key to finding a buyer who wants a smart home system is by explaining what it enables you to do. Don’t expect the system to sell itself or for the buyer to know exactly how to use it.
If you’ve explained the system well enough and have demonstrated it properly, then your buyer will be on board and looking forward to moving to their new, smart home.
Otherwise, you might end up being forced to remove every smart device. If this happens, don’t allow the buyer to negotiate a price reduction as your time has a cost. Be upfront with them as to what will happen as you remove devices and whether walls will need repainting, etc., for example.
Again try your best to avoid your buyer demanding you remove your smart home devices, by showing them how it can improve their life.
After you’ve moved out, it could be good to ask the new owner if they need help operating their smart home system. Also, invest some time in getting your new home automation system up and running!
So, are buyers looking for a smart home?
As home automation continues to grow in popularly, more and more buyers will be looking for a smart home. If you’re trying to sell in a crowded market, you’ll know that to stand out, you need a few desirable extras. And home automation is one such feature you could add.
However, don’t go over the top and spend six figures on installing a home automation system. Instead, focus on adding smart features that improve your life, are easy to operate and affordable.
Be willing to demonstrate the system to potential buyers as this will hopefully convince them to buy your property! And don’t be afraid to wait for the right buyer who appreciates the value of owning a smart home.