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Smart Homes Need Smart REALTORS

June 14 2020

smart home controlA year ago, I wrote an article about smart homes and went into detail to help all of us understand consumers' attraction to smart homes.

You can put most smart devices into five categories: energy efficiency, security, entertainment, mood and, of course, FUN! I am on a personal journey to smarten up my home slowly as I replace needed appliances and devices. I started with my wi-fi enabled garage door opener, which alerts me if the garage door opens after 11pm (plus, Amazon is offering a service to open the garage and place packages inside). I can open or close, or even check if it's closed, from anywhere in the world.

Next, I put up Bluetooth Christmas lights, with which I can chose from 140 colors and effects—that would be for fun. I also have a Nest thermostat and can check the temperature and change it from anywhere, even remotely. While at it, I bought a wi-fi camera to use when I am away for an extended length of time. What else? I'm redoing irrigation system with a new wi-fi controller to notify me of a problem or control from anywhere. I have a new smart refrigerator coming in a few weeks with all kinds of features including, alerting me if door is ajar. Smart door locks are on my shortlist, but it all cost money! Which leads me to why all REALTORS® need to be smart about smart homes. All these upgrades cost money and should be considered when selling a home.

Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101

The National Association (NAR) released a report a few years back, Smart Homes and REALTORS®. When I compare the NAR report with newer studies, it looks like things are about the same. I am going to call this Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101. While you should be somewhat knowledgeable in these areas, PLEASE know you are not expected to be an expert, just understand the basics.

So what is on the shopping list of today's homeowners and what is important in a smart home? Locks, cameras and video doorbells, as security is at the top of the list, followed by temperature control, which makes sense as an energy saving device plus comfort.

The next area of interest is what I call "mood," which includes lighting and entertainment, whether sound or some sort of video. You can start at about $15 for a smart plug to control one light, to big dollars for more advanced equipment.

So how much of that equipment is not included when listing a home? Door locks and mounted devices are one thing, but plug-in equipment is another, so do your homework. Appliances are also an area to consider. Realtors should understand the features and energy savings, plus the fact that smart appliances can cost 30% to 50% more than regular appliances.

Preparing for this post, I read many reports and articles, one of which offered a step-by-step road map for turning your dumb house into a smart house. By the time I finished the article, we were talking about $15,000 worth of upgrades to make a house smart!

As smart home technology continues to grow and homeowners and homebuyers increase what they have or want, it becomes more apparent that REALTORS® need to understand the technology. I spent a few hours reading and taking notes, and if the next buyer or seller wants to discuss smart homes with me, I am better prepared. You need to do the same! I found it all very interesting, but then again, I am a geek!

Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at