How Smart Does Your House Need to Be?

iPad and iPhone on ottoman

It’s 2017, and though we don’t yet have flying cars, technology sure has advanced in the last few decades – especially in real estate.

Today’s homes are littered with “smart” devices. From self-adjusting thermostats and phone-controlled security systems to apps that let you monitor your energy consumption, tech has made homeownership easier than ever.

But just how much of that is necessary? More importantly, how much of that do your buyers want?

To Smarten or Not to Smarten?

You’re selling your home. You’ve invested in the Ring doorbell to add a layer of security to the property, but aside from that, you don’t have any of the high-tech bells and whistles you’ve been hearing about.

Do you pull out all the stops and smarten up the home before listing it?

Well, that depends on a few factors:

  • Home age – If your home is on the older side, smart features can certainly garner you more favor. According to a recent study from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 57 percent of buyers would consider an “older” home more appealing if it had smart appliances or features installed.
  • The competition – Is there a lot of supply and competition in your local market? If so, smart home add-ons can be a game-changer, according to the same study. More than half of respondents said if they had to choose between identical houses – one with smart features and one without – they’d go with the smart home.
  • Buyers in your area – What are buyers in your area like? Are they mostly young, first-time buyers? Parents and families? Older Baby Boomers? More than 60 percent of Millennials prefer smart homes, as do 59 percent of parents with young children.
  • Your price – Want to command top-dollar for your home? A survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows that buyers are willing to pay handsomely for smart home features. They’re particularly willing to fork over the dough for security cameras, smart doorbells, network-connected appliances and high-tech air filtration vents. Appraisers are also more likely to pad values when they see smart features – another way you can ensure your sales price remains high.

If you’re going to add smart home features before selling your home, be sure to choose your projects carefully. According to Inman, the most in-demand smart devices are leak detection sensors, connected thermostats, mobile-controlled garage doors and smart watering and security systems.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.