Over just the past several years, many home-automation or "smart home" products have hit the market. There are Internet-connected thermostats, home-security systems, lights, locks, and even appliances. There will likely be more to come, probably things no one has even thought of yet.
But how, you might be wondering, does this new era of home automation and connectedness affect a home's value?
The jury is still largely out on this. There are real estate agents with anecdotes that seem to confirm that home automation can be a selling point, but there's currently no hard data that smart home products represent any return on investment, dollar-wise, in home sales prices.
That's not to say there is no data whatsoever, though. In fact, a survey done in late 2015 by the technology website CNet.com has some interesting findings when it comes to the potential effect of smart home products on home sales.
The first eye-opening statistic in the survey is that more than 1 in every 4 homes (28%) has some smart home technology. That was in 2015. It's probably safe to assume that percentage has increased by now. And the more common connected tech is in homes, the more likely it is that buyers will come to look for it, even expect it. That has been the case, historically, with home sales trends.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the percentage of homes with smart technology jumps to 47% among millennial homeowners. With so much made of millennials not buying homes, maybe smart home technology could be an enticement among that demographic.
To that end, the CNet survey showed that 81% of those who have smart home technology in their homes now would look for smart home devices in the next home they purchase.
The survey also indicates very little buyers' remorse when it comes to smart home technology. More than 9 out of 10 (91%) of owners of home automation products claimed that they would recommend them to others. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that home automation products "make my life easier." So the people who have smart home tech in their homes seem to like it.
And despite their affection for their smart homes, 66% said they'd leave the technology installed in their homes if it meant a faster sale when they put their home on the market.
What does this all mean for home values?
Well, as mentioned, there is no hard data to suggest that the apparent appreciation for smart home devices translates into higher sales prices. It might be argued, in fact, that a homeowner who paid substantially for things like wired sound systems or Internet connections before wireless was around might be getting zero return on investment because those improvements might now be considered obsolete.
The bigger impact on home sales might be the novelty of the smart home technology. If a buyer looks at four very comparable homes for sale, for example, the one that has smart home products - particularly a thermostat, lighting, security, and locks, according to the survey - could stand out. Ask any buyer who's toured a lot of homes, and they're likely to tell you that little things about certain ones are what made them stand out from the rest
When it's time to sell, having a home that stands out never hurts. Even if home automation doesn't have a dollar figure attached relative to the sales price, if it separates one home from the pack and potentially leads to a faster sale, it would seem there is some value.