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Smart Homes: Are They Worth It In Your Next Flip?

Jul 23, 2020 by Liz Brumer

The Jetsons home is getting fairly close to reality, at least in some respects. Not only are smart homes a reality, but they're also gaining in acceptance and usage as well. And while it may seem like something a homeowner, not a flipper, would consider installing -- the savvy investor may want to think again. Installing smart home features on your next flip may be a great way to help sell your property quickly for very little out of pocket.

What is a smart home?

A smart home is a house that has been equipped with any number of smart devices that perform tasks normally taken care of by the resident. This can mean almost anything in our technologically advanced society and could include:

  1. Smart doorbells that will alert you and even record from the doorbell.
  2. Smart thermostats, which can be controlled from the owner's smart phone.
  3. Smart lighting.
  4. Smart speakers.
  5. Smart appliances.
  6. Robot vacuums that can clean the floors automatically.
  7. Smart home systems, which offers home security in one centralized “smart” hub.

All of these devices are generally connected to the owner's phone and need Wi-Fi to function, and they allow peace of mind to busy or working homeowners knowing they can monitor their home, see when visitors or packages are delivered, adjust the thermostat from their desk, or turn the light off on the front porch from the bed.

What is the demand?

The smart home market was in its infancy at the start of the decade but has exploded since, with smart home spending increasing by billions every single year. The Consumer Technology Association found in a 2020 survey that 70% of U.S. households have some form of smart home technology, which equates to roughly 83 million households. This trend is something Realtors have noticed as well. A Coldwell Banker smart home survey found that 78.8% of Realtors and brokers said buyers are willing to pay more for smart homes. Buyers don't always have the same home buying preferences in common, but it seems when it comes to smart home features, it certainly appeals to the masses.

What features should you include?

The same Coldwell Banker survey stated that security (36.4 percent), energy management (26.7 percent) and entertainment (21.8 percent) were among the most requested features. As a real estate investor, you want to set your home apart without spending more than necessary. Consumer Reports states that 77% of homebuyers want a thermostat, 75% want a smoke detector, 66% want security cameras, and 63% want locks. Adding a smart home hub such as Nest can run you around $1,000 - $2,000 while providing all of the features buyers are searching for.

Soon smart homes will be standard issue, but until then you can market your home as something unique. Staging the home with a speaker to control all of the devices you install could be a huge selling feature; just make sure the Realtor knows how to properly demonstrate the devices to the buyers. Before you hand over the keys, or maybe the code to the electronic door lock, make sure to set all of the devices back to the factory settings so they don't have access to any of your information.

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