The rise of the ‘smart home’: Will it add value to your property?

I was speaking with a good friend the other day and she explained a story about a colleague of hers that was using an Apple Watch to remotely turn off lights her kids keep leaving on! This technology is advancing quickly so that you now have the ability to control your home environment, via a wide range of appliances and utilities, from anywhere with a WIFI connection.

I’ve written before about the role technology plays in real estate from an agent’s point of view. We like to think we’re ahead of the curve in the industry when it comes to technology integration, whether it is internally in the business or externally with our clients.

Is there value in technology to improve your home? The area is not new: it’s been around for a while now. There’s a huge array of in-home technology that is available that can control just about anything. But the question I’m asked most often is “Does it add value to a property?”.

Its still early days

The trend of the “smart home” in Australia is on the increase. I’ve seen homes using technology from a range of suppliers, who offer solutions to remotely control everything from your AV and lighting through to temperature control and security systems.

The biggest challenge is price: it may be coming down but it is still relatively expensive technology, especially to retrofit an older home.

Over time, like we’ve seen in other technology areas, the market will reach a point where the price comes down and features like remotely controlling your appliances will become the norm. At that point, particularly in the luxury or prestige section of the market, it will move from a bit of a gimmick to a standard must have.

One thing to be cautious of: there’s still an issue around the integration of some of the technology across the different manufacturers and platforms. If you’re looking at this right now, future-proof your investment by making sure what you buy is open-platform and can be upgraded as much as possible.

Will it add value?

In reality: anything that distinguishes your home from others on the market place is a great marketing tool for an agent. I’ve seen properties with great design features that make a real difference for certain buyers. There is no doubt that a market exists for this type of technology. In that sense, it can most definitely add to the value of your home.

What are the best options to add value? I read this article recently that gives you an idea of what is available; it’s a good starting point if you’re looking at options.

But don’t neglect the basics

While I’m a fan of new technology, there are still a number of things you can do that won’t cost you the earth to make your property attractive:

  • Look at the indoor aspects of your home: fixing up any damaged areas, giving the the property a paint, changing out the carpets, and making sure you have a strong kitchen and bathroom are still all sure fire winners.
  • Landscape the outdoors: the outside of your home still is your best first impression. It doesn’t have to cost the earth: if you have a bit of a green thumb you can do it yourself, or if you’re not that way inclined get a professional to do it.
  • Add some new features: adding a new deck or a new space to the property like a home office or study is still a great way of increasing the value.

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