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Questions Every Smart Home Buyer or Seller Should Ask
Security and smart home features are such a value add for potential home buyers, smart homes have a significant advantage compared to other homes on the market. In a recent Coldwell Banker survey,over half of potential homebuyer respondents said that if given the choice, they would prefer to purchase a smart home.
Often, a buyer’s decision to purchase a home rests solely on whether or not a particular house includes a few more features compared to others in the same market. For potential smart home buyers, the specific devices wanted in homes vary. However, the overall desire for convenience and security is evident. When asked in another survey about the smart home products buyers want pre-installed, 77 percent want smart thermostats, 66 percent want a smart camera and 63 percent want a smart lock.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a smart home even with just a few of these devices, asking some key questions during the purchasing process will save both parties some time and headaches.
Smart Home Sellers
What will the real estate agent do to properly highlight smart home features?
Smart home features can be a differentiating factor for buyers as soon as they walk in your front door. If you’ve spent time, money and effort to get smart home installations, be sure your agent is able to properly highlight the benefits of those features and how they factor into your asking price.
For example, many smart homes have thermostats that automatically adjust temperatures based on the time of day. Any potential buyers and buyer’s agents should be informed of the tremendous cost savings those automated adjustments can have on utility bills. If that feature isn’t called out in the listing or demonstrated during an open house or showing, how are potential buyers going to know about the additional value your smart home installations bring to the table compared to other houses in the same market?
How will smart home settings and management be transferred to the buyer?
If your smart home installations are staying with the house, you’ll need to ensure your buyer has the tools and resources they need to personalize any settings or passcodes.
Proactively reach out to your installer. Let them know that contracts or warranties to existing subscriptions will likely need to be adjusted for the new homeowners. This can be an added selling point! Not only is your smart home ready for the new buyer, all equipment is under warranty for the next 10 years.
Additionally, gather any how-to guides or instruction manuals into a binder or folder. Be sure to include the name and contact information of your smart home system installer just in case your buyer has any issues after closing.
Smart Home Buyers:
If you’re purchasing a smart home, consider asking a few extra questions about the automation features before moving in.
What type of system maintenance will be needed?
For the most part, you likely won’t have to do too much to keep your new smart home installations running. But eventually, batteries die and software will need to be updated.
Ask the seller how frequently system maintenance needs to happen and about the type of tasks that need completed to keep everything functioning correctly.
If you’re concerned or uncomfortable taking on total system maintenance, contact the original installer to ensure any needed updates are correctly implemented.
Are there any additional operational costs?
Most smart home systems require a monthly service fee. Some installers even include equipment in the monthly plan at 0% interest, just like a smart phone plan.
Find out before closing if a monthly payment is required, what it covers and what is paid off and when. The seller should be able to provide information on warranties and subscriptions that need transferred.
However, if the seller doesn’t provide that information contact the original installer to ensure there isn’t a lapse in service.
What stays and what goes?
You may assume the Nest thermostat will be ready to use upon moving into your smart home. Don’t wait until move-in to inventory all equipment, only to find that smart thermostats and smart speakers are conveniently missing!
Instead, inventory the home beforehand and list smart home equipment in the Real Estate Purchase Agreement. Your realtor will be comfortable with fixtures vs. furniture, but when it comes to smart home equipment, it can be misunderstood. Either way, if you’re buying a smart home, you deserve to receive all the technologies that make a home smart.
Everyone lives a little bit differently, and smart home preferences vary from person to person. Find out how to adjust preferences during an open house, allowing you to make your smart home function the way you want.
You may already have an Amazon Echo while the seller used a Google Home voice assistant. Be sure to ask what else is compatible with your system. Let’s say your new home already has a security system. However, you want to add a smart door lock. Will it be a simple feature to add?
If the seller doesn’t know their current system limitations, the original installer should be able to guide you to a variety of solutions.
Simply asking a few questions can smooth the entire purchasing process, leaving sellers satisfied with the sale, and buyers pleased with their new smart home purchase.