by Liz Lizama
There is no doubt emerging smart home technologies have transformed real estate as we know it today.
A recent Coldwell Banker survey of 500 agents revealed nearly 64 percent of associates agreed buyers are more interested in homes with smart home features and technology than they were two to five years ago.
From security and safety to temperature control and lighting, technology is changing the way we live and connect with our homes. Smart TVs introduced new avenues of entertainment while smart appliances not only offer convenience but are energy efficient as well.
Although hiring engineers to rewire an entire home can run up to $5,000, there are many more smart home upgrades that cost under $300 and still offer a great return on investment with energy savings, security and convenience.
“It all depends on your budget,” said Manuel Avalos, a Falls Church Home Depot sales associate. At $49.99, the Wink smart home hub is “the most basic, bottom line thing you can buy,” he said.
“With everything that you buy, you’re always going to need a hub,” said Avalos.
The hub connects to a home’s wireless router and allows you to interact with your home and control smart home devices.
While there are hundreds of systems on the market, the Wink hub sold at Home Depot works with different brand products you can control in a single app on your smartphone.
So regardless of where in the world you might be, you can still control your home’s lights, locks, thermostats, blinds and even your washer and dryer.
In his experience, Century 21 real estate agent Will O’Connor said he’s seen homeowners focus particularly on security upgrades.
“I have a few folks that have done things mostly to their security system where they have their security system connected to their phones and they are able to do everything from regulate the heat to, of course, monitor what’s going on inside their homes with camera surveillance systems,” he said.
Kwikset offers a smart lock, available at Home Depot for $219, which your smartphone can use to open and close your door.
It also sends notifications of any activity so that you can monitor your home from anywhere. Owners can send an electronic key to family, friends or visitors via the smartphone application, so they can use their phone as a key.
For further security, many surveillance monitor systems are available like the Dropcam Pro camera, which sells for $199.
Those looking to control room temperature and lighting also have many options. The Nest Learning Thermostat costs $249 and automatically programs temperatures according to your schedule. Users can also control the thermostat via a mobile application.
Leviton, GE and Phillips are just a few of the companies producing energy efficient lighting options compatible with wireless hubs like the Wink.
In addition to convenience and savings, these products also offer color lighting options to suit your mood and can easily be controlled from your mobile device.
Though not as popular as security, lighting and temperature controls, smart appliances are slowly making it into homes as well. Whirlpool makes a washer and dryer that can be controlled from anywhere. LG’s refrigerator with Smart Cooling Plus technology helps keep food fresher and longer as it reacts automatically to humidity and temperature levels.
With an outfitted smart home to your liking, cars of course couldn’t be left out of the equation.
“Nowadays, you get some automobiles – at one time you could obviously open and close your garage door – but now with some of them you can program from the car to turn the lights on when you pull up, adjust the heat, open and close the doors,” said O’Connor.
The Chamberlain MyQ Garage retails for $129.95 and allows one to open and close the garage door anywhere with a mobile device.
With push notifications to your smart phone and a safety feature to alert anyone in the garage that the door is closing, the safety features offer users peace of mind.
Whether looking for security, comfort or convenience, these smart home enhancements add energy and cost savings and increase resale value.
According to Coldwell Banker’s survey, one in three agents reported that smart homes sold faster than homes without the upgrades.