Selling a smart home with smart home technology—lighting and heat control, security technologies, window treatment automation—is the wave of the future. All you need is a smartphone or laptop and you can control all your devices from a distant location. But according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, only about 15 percent of real estate clients ask their Realtor about smart home technology.
The benefits of selling a smart home with all its amenities are 80 percent peace of mind, 19 percent cost savings, and 1 percent fun. According to Reviewed.com, Realtors say these types of features can help enhance a home’s appeal at sale time.
But they can also create some unforeseen problems if no one bothers to mention the house for sale is a smart house. The closing happens, the sellers go merrily on their way, and all the important smart home information is still in their smart phones.
It isn’t always obvious which items in a home might have digital interfaces. For example, a house could be equipped with state-of-the-art light bulbs that link to a hub that allows the owner to use a phone app to control them. But there’s no way for a new homeowner to automatically know that. They might not even notice the small box tucked away in the corner of a closet that allows someone with the right app to control their lights. And then they might wonder why the heck their lights turn on and off at unusual times. Unfortunately the smart lights are not smart enough to tell the new owner what’s up.
Transferring ownership of these devices should be considered by the original homeowner when he/she installs them. In most areas, fixtures—anything that’s affixed to the house, such as a Nest thermometer that’s installed in the wall—stay with the home, while non-fixtures—a webcam on a shelf, for example—don’t. Ownership of connected devices should be added to the contract so that what stays and what goes is clearly laid out.
In addition, many connected home devices require WiFi, which is often one of the first things the original homeowner removes when a house is sold. So the new owner can’t even access their clever new devices until they install their own WiFi network.
At this stage of the smart home technology development, there is no way to hand over the information stored on your phone or laptop. They have to be reset, and if the new owners don’t have the original documentation they will have to do some online homework to find the relevant documentation so they can know what’s necessary to reset the devices.
Realtors need to be in the habit of asking sellers if their house is a smart house. That way they can demonstrate the technology at a showing. If it turns out they are selling a smart home, they need to make sure all the documentation is available to pass on to the new homeowner.
Ready to sell or buy a smart home? Give me a call and I’ll show you how all that smart technology works!