It’s time to sell, but how are you going to get the most money for your home? In today’s tech-savvy world, one of the best upgrades to sell your home faster is to turn it into a smart home.
A 2016 survey shows that nearly half of consumers say smart home technology is important for their current home or their next home purchase. It also found that more than one-third of Americans associate smart home technology with a move-in ready home, which is something 71 percent of buyers look for.
But isn’t a smart home super expensive and complicated? Not anymore. In fact, you can make your home “smart” in a weekend for under $1,500; that’s easier, less expensive, and quite a bit more fun than most remodeling projects.
What Is a Smart Home?
A smart home offers enhanced, intelligent control and monitoring of a home’s security, climate, appliances, lighting, and safety systems. But you don’t need all these systems in place for your home to be considered “smart.” The simplest option for staging a smart home is to focus on climate control, lighting, and security, as these are the most visible and user-friendly.
Here is a look at three straightforward smart home systems you can install yourself in a weekend.
There are two ways to upgrade a home’s lighting to smart lighting: smart switches and smart bulbs. Both give you the ability to set schedules and create custom lighting scenes, as well as turn your lights on and off remotely with a smartphone or your voice (with compatible hardware).
Smart bulbs are Wi-Fi-connected LED light bulbs that replace existing bulbs and can be controlled by an app on a smartphone. Smart switches replace existing light switches (so some re-wiring is required) and control existing LED light bulbs through an app and through the smart switch itself.
A combination of smart switches and smart light bulbs is generally the best solution. Smart switches for rooms where multiple bulbs are controlled by one switch and bulbs for lamps and single light fixture rooms (such as a bathroom).
Estimated cost for a 3-bed, 2-bath single-family home: $700. Price based on the purchase of a Philips Hue White Connected Home LED light bulb set up (22 A19 bulbs, 6 BR30 bulbs and a hub), and two Lutron Caseta Dimmer Switches and a Lutron Hub.
Upgrade option: Add motion sensors to rooms such as bathrooms and hallways so that lights turn on and off automatically, saving energy when they’re not in use.
A smart thermostat gives a home an instant modern look and provides substantial energy savings for a homeowner by optimizing the efficiency of most standard HVAC systems. With remote access and intelligent sensors, smart thermostats from companies like Nest and Ecobee can sense whether a home is occupied or not and adjust itself automatically.
Smart thermostats also let the homeowner control the temperature remotely with a smartphone or voice control, whether they’re at work, on vacation or just sitting on the couch. The Nest smart thermostat can also create and adapt to a heating and cooling schedule for you, taking the pain out of the programming process.
Estimated cost for a two-zone HVAC system: $300 – $500 for two thermostats (one for each zone)
Upgrade option: Smart vents can integrate with smart thermostats to further optimize savings and increase comfort by selectively opening and closing based on your schedule, so rooms aren’t being heated or cooled when they’re empty.
Security & Safety
Smart door locks are an easy and very visible upgrade for a home. Just switch out an existing deadbolt for a smart one and dispense with the annoyance of keys—although keys are still an option. Smart door locks offer one of two entry systems:
- A touch-to-open functionality, such as the Kevo by Kwikset, which uses your smartphone and Bluetooth to grant access by placing a finger on the lock. (You don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket or bag!)
- A keyless touchpad entry system.
Smart locks can also integrate with smart lighting and smart climate control, and do things like automatically turn the lights off and the temperature down when you leave and lock the door behind you.
Estimated cost for a 3-bed, 2-bath single-family home: $400 for two locks
Upgrade option: Smart smoke alarms are an easy and effective safety upgrade. A home must have enough working smoke alarms to be up to code, so if you are buying new ones in preparation for selling, consider investing in smart ones. The main advantage is the ability to alert the homeowner of potential danger when they are not at home. Brands such as Nest and First Alert OneLink integrate with other smart features in the home. For example, Nest’s Protect smoke alarms act as sensors for its smart thermostat, and both can activate smart bulbs in the home to act as an added warning.
Smart Home Setup Tip
When you install these smart devices in preparation for selling your home, consider setting up a separate email account for your house. That way, you can just hand the email address and password over to the new homeowner, and they will have info on all the devices without the need for any complicated resets or transfers of ownership.
There’s little doubt about it—adding smart home technology will make your home stand out from the crowd, and for a substantially less upfront investment than many traditional upgrades.
Jennifer Tuohy writes about the latest tech and smart home advancements for The Home Depot. She covers topics such as programming LED light bulbs and choosing the latest smart home security options. To view a wide selection of LED light bulb and other smart home options, visit The Home Depot.