Is It Worth Automating My Home If I Am Going To Sell?

Having a background in real estate technology systems and home automation I get this question from clients quite often. What value will adding home automation to the home?

The answer is, probably not much in a tangible, money aspect. That is, putting a couple of thousand dollars of various automation devices isn't going to equate to a specific dollar you can add to the sale price. However, it can be a differentiator between someone making an offer on your home or someone else's. Why?

Let's start by looking at the obvious ones. Smart thermostats and HVAC systems do have a return on investment. They lower your utility bills. I've had smart thermostats for over 4 years now and can say they have easily saved me about 25% annually on my utility bills compared to the first two years with traditional devices. There is also the convenience of being able to turn on your AC or heat when you've been away on vacation so the house is comfortable by the time you get home. Those are easy to grasp--and sell--talking points.

Lighting is the next aspect of home automation. Smart lighting is not only a convenience factor, but can be one of safety. You are on your way home from an event in the evening out and you use your mobile app to turn on your outdoor and garage lights is one classic example. Add a smart device like Google Home or Amazon Echo and turning on the lights when your arms are full of groceries by simply calling out doesn't seem like much until you need it.

Schedule lights to come on and go off while you are away and you add to the security of your home by making it seem as if there is someone home. Tie in home cameras so you can look in your home before arriving from a trip to see if the coast is clear, or check on a pet while you are out.

Economic savings, safety, convenience are all positive attributes when selling a home. Just a few short years ago you would need at least $10,000 and up to several hundred thousands of dollars for a home automation system. Today, you can have one for as little as a couple of hundred dollars. I've seen people spend more on accessories for a showing!

Lastly, a home that gives off a vibe of being new and modern tells a prospective buyer the home is cared for and less likely to have other issues. It's hard to put a specific amount on those features--but they are worth more than those homes without them.