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Smart Home 101: How to Upgrade Your Pad

Photo credit: iStock/mikkelwilliam

Photo credit: iStock/mikkelwilliam

Homeowners have spoken—and they want smarter homes.

According to the recently released Coldwell Banker survey, 44 percent of people looking for a move-in ready home said smart home technology should already be installed, while 57 percent said they’d consider an old home “updated” if it had smart home technology.

So what exactly makes a home smart? 

A smart home should always have an internet connection and either a smart security feature or smart temperature feature,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate Joe Herzog. “In addition, to be considered a smart home, there must be two other smart features such as smart appliances, TVs, lighting, doorbells or fire/carbon monoxide detectors. There’s obviously more bells and whistles that can be installed, but those are the typical components.”

Smart homes are equipped with WiFi or Bluetooth network-connected products for optimizing different functions controlled via phones, tablets, computers or separate systems. Herzog notes that the security feature usually includes indoor and outdoor-networked security cameras. Thermostat and lighting can also adjust based on motion throughout the house.

The survey also shows it’s not just tech-savvy Millennials demanding the upgrade—52 percent of Gen Xers and 50 percent of Baby Boomers agreed that smart home technology was influential in their decision to buy a new home.

“It’s pretty much across the board,” Herzog says. “I rarely see people who aren’t interested in it—even if they’re not demanding it, they’re expecting it. Everybody sees the benefit and wants the exciting wow factor.”

Looking to sell a home with a low IQ? Think about installing basic smart home technology to make your house more appealing (and worth a higher price!) to prospective buyers.

“Any seller who doesn’t at least invest in some smart home technology risks underselling their home,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate Harkeet Chadha. “The majority of the buyers out there now are willing to spend top dollar for these comforts. They’re coming to open houses with a checklist. They want the better things in life and they want these technologies.”

If you’re not sure where to start, Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates recommend the Nest app as the most effective smart home feature with a thermostat, indoor and outdoor security cameras and a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, all controlled from your smartphone.

But don’t get too carried away! “You have to be careful you’re not installing technology that could become outdated really quickly once something better comes along,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate Matthew Greene. “It can actually decrease the value of your home. I remember growing up when intercom systems installed in each room were really cool—now it’s hard to sell a house with those. Temperature control and security are timeless necessities.”

Another caution for buyers and sellers alike? Be smart about your home technology to avoid any accidents after closing.

“Remember the changing of hands with smart home technology,” Greene says. “Make sure the previous owner cancels their accounts and changes passwords so that you don’t inadvertently give a previous owner of a property control over the systems in your house.”

For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.ColdwellBankerHomes.com