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Homes Are Getting Smarter: Can Real Estate Agents Keep Up?

July 15 2015

hogue smart homesThere are hundreds of products and services that go into building a home. It looks like there will be more as advances in technology are introducing devices that will make homes more intelligent. Tech giant Google is betting on it.

Recently, they purchased a company called Nestpurchased a company called Nest for approximately $3.4 billion. Yes, a "b." Nest specializes in smart technology for the home. Their website says, "We take what's familiar and look at it in a new light. Our team focuses on making technology that's simple, fresh and helpful."

They have developed a smart thermostat. They claim it will save the average homeowner 20 percent on their heating and cooling bills. You can control the thermostat from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. After a week or two, the thermostat learns how you like the home and self-adjusts to suit. It learns what you like and responds in kind. Now that is a real self-programming thermostat.

A 20 percent savings on heating and cooling bills is no joke. Lower costs raise property values. Many home buyers in my area ask their RealtorĀ® for a copy of the heating and cooling bills of a home they're interested in purchasing. A 20 percent savings would be an average of approximately $600 per year, or $50.00 per month. In mortgage money, this is $10,000 of added home value. Money saving and ecologically sound--not bad.

Nest has also designed smoke and carbon monoxide alarm systems controlled through your electronic devices. Safety is one of the main reasons people buy a house. This product takes safety to another level.

With Google now involved, we are likely to see many new smart devices in the home. Imagine knowing every time your refrigerator is open; maybe one of your appliances texts you and asks for servicing or the air quality sensor emails you a readout of the conditions inside your home.

In my humble opinion, it is the duty of a real estate professional to keep up with the industry and serve the public. Unfortunately, many agents are not as familiar with basic home components as they should be. Many home buyers and sellers choose a RealtorĀ® because they like them, or they have good taste. These traits are essential, but should not be the top reason you want a professional to serve your real estate interests. Being familiar with home construction and the materials used obviously have merit.

The next generation of smart products will not only add value to the homeowner while living in the home but will add value when they sell it. That is, if they choose an agent that is aware of the features and benefits of the upgrades.

On the other hand, maybe real estate agents will not have to keep up. The homeowner can turn on lights before the showing and turn them off after it has ended. They will be aware if the RealtorĀ® grabbed a sandwich out of the smart refrigerator, and lock doors the buyer's agent left unsecured. All this from their phone.

No doubt, the homeowner will know if the agent was at the home for the showing because the IP cameras will pick up the movement and send real-time video right to your Android Nexus tablet. No more leaving business cards or looking for foot marks on the carpet.

How soon will it be before there are virtual real-time showings of the home? Soon Google may invent the "smart agent" and do away with us all -- not on my watch! An excellent real estate agent is still worth their weight, plus some, in electronic gadgets.

Agents need to up their game and get smarter. If not, the home may just sell itself.

Knowledge is power!

To view the original article, visit JeffreyHogueRealtor.comJeffreyHogueRealtor.com.