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Being Smart About Smart Home Technology

New Jersey has long been a leader in technological innovation; it’ no surprise that tech is a factor in the real estate market here. No matter Smart Home Buying Selling where in the area you live, whether you’re buying, selling or updating your home, it is very likely that you have thought about smart home technology, connecting home to your devices and even your car. Knowing whether the investment would be worth making, whether to choose external service providers or DIY options, and which upgrades would add value not just to your lifestyle but also to your home is important.

It Makes a Difference

Research shows that younger buyers are keen on having smart homes and that buyers in general expect smart home technology, especially when shopping in the luxury market. Systems that enhance security and efficiency are the most valued—security for the obvious reason, and efficiency not only because time is a valuable commodity, but because a smart system can yield thousands of dollars in savings each year by controlling energy consumption and even signaling damage from fire, water, etc. for immediate response. Using only the energy you need also resonates with buyers who care about their impact on the planet.

As a seller, home automation may factor into where your home fits into the competitive landscape. As a buyer, it may factor in the amenities you want and the price of the homes you will consider. As with many other features, you may find yourself debating whether to pay more for a home that has what you want versus adding it after you buy.

DIY vs Professionally Installed

How you put tech to work for you and the value it adds depends on a variety of factors, beginning with your personal preference and skillset and ending with your local market. Setting up your own tech can be complicated, especially when you integrate several subsystems: security, lighting (internal and external), energy, audio, theater, irrigation. The electrical work can get complicated, and if you don’t get it right, can be an excessive drain on your home’s existing systems. While it may cost more, if you are not tech savvy or are not a DIY pro, you may overspend, miss out on useful features and even end up calling in a pro to make it all work anyway. You should also consider what data each of the components is gathering about you and your home and be comfortable that your privacy is being protected at the hub and at each point of contact.

Professional installation addresses compatibility, systems, and a single point for customer service issues. These systems are often built with higher quality components, can communicate with response authorities (police, fire, EMT), cover you during power outages, provide better encryption, and make tech upgrades seamless and easy. Professional providers are now creating options for homeowners at all levels. Professionally installed systems are usually perceived as being of greater value than DIY by homebuyers, but they come with their own issues at the point of transfer of ownership.

At the Point of Transaction

Smart home technology needs to be included in the contract and negotiations. Both the seller and buyer need to understand and document the transition. As a buyer, you need to understand what you are buying—what stays with the house and what doesn’t—and include those details in the contract. For the protection of both parties, passwords and settings need to be set back to factory default so that only the buyer has access. With professionally supported systems, a buyer should understand the privacy policy and terms of the service contract and be comfortable with them. You need to understand what, if any, data is being collected about your home, who will have access to it and how it is used. If you are keeping the same vendor, you’ll want to know if there have been any security breaches and whether they were handled to your expectations.

What’s Your Strategy?

Whether you are buying or selling, your realtor can be your guide in assessing the value of home automation in your transaction. If selling, your agent can advise on the local competitive market and what you need to do to compete; if buying, your agent can help you factor how home automation systems may impact price, value, negotiations and handover on the homes you are viewing. This is another key point where Gloria Nilson & Co.’s commitment to local market expertise and staying up to date on the latest real estate issues makes your agent your most valuable asset.


Published October 8, 2019 in Home Improvement