How to Get the Most Value From Home Automation Systems
One of the most significant trends in both new construction and home remodeling is creating a "smart home." From connected thermostats that can help monitor and control heating and cooling to security systems that can be remotely controlled via smartphone, there is an infinite number of gadgets and gizmos on the market that can make your home more convenient, cost effective, and secure.
While home automation systems are undoubtedly appealing, for those considering selling their homes, there are questions about how these devices and systems will affect the home's value and appeal to buyers. It might seem like a no-brainer, but the decisions that you make regarding smart appliances and systems can actually have a profound effect on the overall property value.
Smart Homes Are in Demand
There's no denying that smart home technology is in demand - from all age groups. Although you might expect that young people would be the most likely to be in the market for home technology, surveys indicate that Baby Boomers are actually the most likely to invest in home automation and smart home technologies. Compared to previous generations, Baby Boomers are more likely to remain in their homes longer as they age, and smart home technology can help them achieve that goal. In addition, Baby Boomers actually expect smart technology to add value to their homes.
That doesn't mean that other age groups aren't interested in technology, though. A National Kitchen and Bath Association found that millennials are looking for home technology that makes their lives more convenient, while Generation X-ers are looking for more comfortable environments. Overall, homeowners are investing in smart technology not out of a desire to be "cool" or to "keep up with the Joneses," but for more practical purposes.
In more tangible terms, this means that the driving force behind many technology investments is energy efficiency. The NKBA survey revealed that 68 percent of smart home purchases are for saving money and becoming more "green." Security and convenience were the second and third driving factors, with most respondents believing that adding such technology adds value to the home. With that in mind, then, how can you make the right decisions for your home now, so that it provides the greatest return on your investment later?
The Most Bang for Your Buck
Getting the most out of your smart home investment requires you to weigh the cost vs. the benefits, both now while you live in the home and down the road when you plan to sell. With that in mind, it's useful to consider buyer's top priorities of comfort, convenience, security, and energy savings. With that in mind, the most popular home technology features include:
- Smart thermostats, especially those that incorporate heating and cooling controls with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and security cameras
- Smart security systems
- Keyless entry systems, including doors that can be controlled remotely via app
- Smart lighting systems
- Smart entertainment systems, which include built in speakers and other components that can be controlled via app
- Smart appliances, including refrigerators and stoves
Real estate experts recommend that homeowners investing in these technologies choose higher quality systems that are ideal as a long-term investment, rather than inexpensive or quick fix technologies. Ease of use is also a key factor. Ideally, when selling a home, a realtor or the prospective homebuyer should be able to demonstrate the system. If you have multiple systems, using a hub that allows all the home automation products to be controlled by a single touch pad is appealing.
Ease of use isn't homebuyers' only concern, though. Maintenance and the overall security of the system are also key considerations. Again, professionally installed, high-quality technology is generally more appealing than DIY, inexpensive gadgets. Be prepared to provide documentation about the technology, including installation and maintenance records, user manuals, and security details.
As with any home improvement, if you are planning to remain in your home for a while, you need to consider your own needs and preferences in addition to the desires of future homebuyers. Unlike other home trends that are likely to fall out of fashion within a few years, though, home automation is likely to stick around and will offer a decent return on investment and increase the value of your home.