Smart Homes - a New Category in Real Estate?

Posted on Jul 19, 2017 03:13 PM EDT
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Smart Homes - a New Category in Real Estate?

Technology has made its presence felt in almost every aspect of our everyday lives. Besides, it influences many important decisions, like the buying of a home for example. As generations change, those with the possibility to buy new homes become more tech-savvy (millennials are said to be the largest group of prospective homeowners today), and they are looking to purchase Home 2.0 or - as we know it - smart homes. They are the people who would willingly pay to make their homes "smart", even if they can only afford a low-cost smart home system. And they are more willing to purchase a new home that's been upgraded to a next level of interactivity.

What is a "smart home"

A "smart home" is, by definition, a home equipped with lighting and heating systems and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely, preferably by using one's smartphone or computer. But this is a pretty dry definition of the concept. From a more human point of view, a smart home is a dwelling with a "home network" that encompasses everything from home entertainment systems, communications, security, and information systems, along with appliances that take care of creating the perfect climate and light conditions for the increased comfort and convenience of the dweller.

Smart homes have evolved at an incredible pace in the last couple of decades. If twenty years ago, a porch light equipped with a timer or a motion sensor was the "smartest" addition to a home, today's technology has expanded this term at an exponential pace. Today's thermostats can learn the users' temperature preferences at different times of the day and set the perfect temperature for them at all times. Fridges are already "aware" of their contents and can remind their owners to buy certain groceries. And these smart appliances and fixtures are all connected to a network - through WiFi or Bluetooth - and can not only communicate with each other but also with the owner, even over long distances.

Does "smart" boost the price of a property?

Smart home technology is recognized and desirable in many countries around the world. Last year, for example, the majority of American homeowners recognized the value of these upgrades. The technology is not very widespread, though - according to CNET editor-in-chief Lindsey Turrentine, cited by CNBC last year, only one in four Americans had them in their homes. But the technology is spreading at an unprecedented rate.

While these technologies don't necessarily boost the homes' prices, they do captivate the prospective owners' attention. The prices paid by the buyer might not be significantly higher if the home is equipped with smart technologies like keyless doors and smart lighting but, as some realtors say, these homes usually sell faster than their "dumb" counterparts. And consumers start to ask for smart features in homes, making them a desirable addition to any property.

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