You probably already know that a smart house attracts the attention of home buyers and that there are dozens of smart home features and options available. What may not be as clear is which of these many choices adds the most value to your house. It’s a good idea for real estate investors, agents/brokers, property buyers, sellers, and property managers to be on top of these evolutionary developments.
It’s kind of like understanding HOA fees and how they add value to a house purchase: Once you “get” that, it’s easy to understand the value of making a smart house conversion.
Not All Smart House Technology Adds Value
Be warned: Some new gadgets are useful and will never have a shelf life (iPhones). Others truly are faddish. Consider Google Glass, a head-mounted wearable computer, unveiled with great fanfare in 2012, but which disappeared almost in an instant.
Some people, called technology innovators, love new technology simply so they can say they have the coolest new gadget and stay current with trends. Most people fall somewhere in the middle when they adopt new technology. People in this group make up about 70 percent of the population — they decide the specific smart technology that increases the value of a smart house. So what does the 70 percent think about smart house technology?
Let’s find out.
Which Smart Home Features Offer More Value?
Similar to how people find benefits by paying HOA fees, the smart technology that adds value has the following qualities:
- Improves safety and security
- Saves on energy costs
- Lowers insurance costs
- Adds lifestyle convenience
- Improves day-to-day living
Eighty-one percent of home buyers prefer a home with smart features that are already installed in a home, according to Digitized House. Sixty-two percent of Americans list security as their top smart home priority. Similarly, 58 percent of millennials (the largest homebuyer market segment) already have some smart home devices on voice control in their homes.
Overall, 72 percent of Americans prefer to have voice control of their smart house devices. Condominiums have also embraced smart security, and HOA fees are generally the same amount even with the addition of smart house features.
Which Voice Control Is Best?
You’ll find that many smart house hubs are still based on old 1970s technology (think copper electrical wire in the walls). Today’s voice-based leaders include:
It’s almost impossible to rank or rate Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant because upgrades and changes occur every few months. Here, we’ll reach beyond driving directions, finding an ethnic restaurant or the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. How well does each voice control interact with smart home devices?
First, each voice control assistant works with a wide variety of other smart home devices. Most third-party devices work with at least two voice control systems and some with all three. But all of this might become moot because third-party software like Homebridge is working to bring both devices and voice control together. Unfortunately, third-party hardware does complicate matters and often, items aren’t compatible.
Even if your preferred home device doesn’t work with your voice assistant, a quality substitute eventually will. You can also be sure that all devices that rise to the top of consumer preferences will have to work with all three voice assistants. Check Apple, Amazon, and Google for their full list of supported devices.
Connect to Hardware
Whether you are a real estate investor, agent or broker, property buyer or seller or a property manager, know that smart house hardware is compatible across different systems.
This isn’t like making the big decision to go with a PC or Mac. Nor is it a long-term commitment like iOS versus Android. It’s about the Internet of Things (IoT) and multiple cloud services run in the background. You have a good beginning for a connected smart house even if you just have a few smart devices that currently work independently. Your goal here is remote control so you no longer have to touch the controls of each separate device.
IoT enables security well beyond family homes. Businesses and industries use this technology across vast networks. Your HOA fees probably protect your property with remote clubhouse and pool gate locks and even control lighting to keep thieves and other criminals out of the neighborhood.
Here are a few key points you might want to consider among all three devices.
Amazon Alexa’s connections begin by simply tapping on “Add Device” or verbally asking Alexa to find new gadgets. You might be shocked by the number of compatible devices but it’s easy to drill down to the devices you already have or want to install.
Learn the capabilities of the “Routines” function. You can combine functions across different devices. In other words, you might have a routine that simultaneously turns on the kitchen, family room lights, and the TV when you get home from work. You might also have a routine that turns on some lights, turns off other lights, enables the security system, and locks the doors when you leave the house.
Apple HomeKit works across multiple Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Mac) rather than only from a smartphone. You’ll interact with Siri for voice control. Open the Home app and tap “Add Accessory” to begin.
There are currently three sections. “Home” lists the smart devices in your home. The “Rooms” section combines devices in different parts of your house. “Automation” controls which functions engage. For instance, you can turn down the thermostat, turn off specific lights and activate the alarm when you leave for work in the morning.
Automation is further grouped into “Scenes.” The above example could be labeled “Work Day” or something similar. A newer feature is “Shortcuts,” which combines complicated set-ups to function with a single tap on your phone or a single command to Siri.
Google Assistant supports two types of devices. Devices with Google Assistant built in can be voice-activated. Other devices take command from the Google Assistant. It works the same across all devices such as an Android smartphone or Android Wear smartwatch. Just like the others, it links to multiple smart house devices. Go to the Google Home app for your starting point.
You won’t find quite as many “actions” as Alexa and HomeKit, but Google Assistant has all the basics and more. Google Assistant works with security cameras, locks, lights, plugs, thermostats and more. You’ll also find other features as well: Two people can have a conversation in two different languages and Google Assistant can translate the conversation.
Convert to a Smart House Today
You’ve seen the commercials: Smart house technology will let you view who’s on your porch with a doorbell camera. The technology is here to stay and will definitely quickly grow beyond doorbell cameras in capability and value. Almost all new home construction comes with at least a few smart house features.
It’s no less important than adding expensive granite countertops in a kitchen or making sure you have a luxurious master suite. Plus, it can be surprisingly affordable. You can get started for as little as $60 and the national average is about $925. (That’s not much more than what you’d pay for two months’ worth of HOA fees.)
Your smart house pays for itself in a few short months: You’ll get a 30 percent reduction in energy costs — and you’re not limited to locking the doors and arming alarms. Today’s smart house includes door and window sensors that notify you when you’ve accidentally left them open. The possibilities today and in the near future are mind-boggling and can help real estate investors, agents, brokers, property buyers, property sellers, and property managers many years into the future.
This article has been contributed by Brian Kline from Benzinga.