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Smart Realtors Need to Understand Smart Homes

June 27 2019

smart home controlA few days ago, I had a call from an agent. We discussed the many reasons why an agent needs to include new homes to show prospective buyers. When I mentioned "smart homes," she stopped me and said there needs to be a seminar on smart homes and just how much a Realtor needs to know.

I agreed, and after the call I started doing some research on smart homes and what homebuyers are looking for in a smart home. But first I wanted to understand the market, so I visited the National Association of REALTORS® website to look at who is buying homes currently. Millennials, the generation born between early 1980s and 1990s, make up the largest generational group of homebuyers. I decided to start there with what Millennials are looking for in a home.

After reviewing a bunch of surveys, the one common thread was what I call smart home technology. I strongly believe REALTORS® need some basic knowledge in the following areas of smart home technology. Each buyer will have their own order of importance, but here are my top five categories of smart home technology:

1. Energy Efficiency

This is a big one on everybody's list. By using certain types of smart products, a homebuyer can lower their energy bills by a third. That could be a deal closer when buyers consider the long-term cost of ownership.

The major types of technology in this category include smart thermostats to control HVAC, appliances, lighting and other equipment. Homeowners can pre-program an app so that on your way out the door, it shuts down or limits appliances like water heaters until you get home.

2. Security

We are talking more than just a video doorbell (which is a great start for all of us online shoppers who have packages showing up almost daily).

This categry includes:

  • Cameras that watch your home inside and out
  • Door locks that are controlled by your phone to let people in—no more key under the doormat
  • Garage doors that alert you when left open and can be opened from your phone
  • Window detectors
  • Motion detectors
  • Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors

The list goes on. Before going to bed, hit one button to activate your security technology.

3. Entertainment

How much money are you willing to spend? Looks like Wi-Fi is replacing Bluetooth for sound equipment, voice control—and if I talk about anything else in this area, it will be outdated before this gets published.

4. Mood

Why would I make a category for mood? Simple—many of us are stressed by the time we get home. Work, the commute, and dealing with people has drained us and we need a relaxing wind-down environment to recharge or vegetate. Lighting, music, and temperature can be programmed for that special time we all need.

(Oh, this is cool—I just read that there is a system that turns your lighting purple when it rains. Thanks, Prince!)

5. Hub or Convergence

Yes, all the above stuff needs a brain to operate, and this is where you just need to nod your head when somebody tells you they like Amazon, Samsung, Google or Apple.

Final Thoughts

You don't need to be or pretend to be an expert or a member of a Geek Platoon to sell real estate, BUT just like it's important for you to know the community, shopping, schools and taxes, it's now important to have a basic understanding of smart home technology. Cost of ownership is a factor for most folks—saving a third on energy bills could help you close the deal!

Couple of notes: If you list a smart home, understand all that stuff needs to be reprogrammed by the new owners. Instead of changing locks, we now need to redo a bunch of stuff. Hopefully the seller can help clean the system for the new owners.

And, hey, did you hear? Ikea is introducing new smart blinds by the end of the year!

Dick Betts is a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at