Selling a home is already a stressful experience, but it can be extra stressful if you own a smart home.
Much of the best smart-home technology today consists of more than just bulbs and plugs. Many of our favorite products require an installation. That includes the Ecobee4 and Nest Learning thermostats, the Nest Hello video doorbell, August and Schlage smart locks, the Brilliant Control wall panel, and a large assortment of smart dimmers and switches.
For those (like me) who both lack installation expertise and tend to move a lot, this can be a barrier to going all-in on a smart home. What if you spend hours outfitting your apartment with smart wall panels, switches, thermostats, doorbells and locks only to have to uninstall and reinstall everything the next time you move?
I spoke to Drew and Jonathan Scott, stars of HGTV's Property Brothers, about this question at Chase and Pinterest's Pins and Properties event. As a realtor and contractor, respectively, Drew and Jonathan have witnessed firsthand the rise in the importance of smart-home technology in home-buying. In fact, almost every client they work with these days is buying and selling with a smart home in mind, the brothers said.
"When you look at the evolution of home, it used to be that 'home is where the heart is. Home should be your happy place, your safe haven,'" Jonathan said. "But then, people started wanting to get more of an open concept. And then, as that became more popular, people were trying to make more function in their space."
The brothers' advice for smart-home sellers is simple: Treat a smart home as an investment, not a purchase.
"Just don't uninstall" when you move and are looking sell, Drew explained. "Whatever you have installed in your home, it's a feature to sell your house." A smart thermostat or light switch can be a great feature to talk up on your listing, helping raise the home's value, Drew said. "Leave it as a selling feature to get top dollar for your house."
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Jonathan agreed; his home in Las Vegas contains a video doorbell, a smart thermostat and a floor-to-ceiling rack full of smart-home technology. If he moved, he said, "I wouldn't take it. That would be part of the house."
As a bonus, you can take the extra money from your home sale and reinvest in even better smart technology. That's a good move, given how quickly the technology advances, Drew and Jonathan said.
"It's not even yearly — it's monthly that things are improving," said Drew of smart gadgets. "Things are getting more cost-effective." As you settle into your new place, "you can find some new smart-home technology that might be even better, that costs less."
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One caveat, though: If you want your gadgets to woo potential buyers but you're not fully comfortable setting up the tech yourself, it's worth investing in professional installation.
"If you don't know what you're opening up, don't slam a sledgehammer into a wall that might have venting or electrical," Drew advised. "Work with a professional."
Credit: Chase Home Lending