As tech natives, Millennials like the control of the function and comfort of their home at the touch of their fingertips.
Smart home technologies once seemed like science fiction or amenities only for the super rich, but the market for them is growing swiftly and prices are coming down. This provides an emerging opportunity to make your investment house appealing to tech-craving Millennial home buyers by installing intelligent technologies. As tech-natives, they are comfortable leveraging the latest tools and gadgets to create the lifestyle they aim for—and they want them in their homes. As a result, real estate investors who make an effort to incorporate these technologies in their properties can gain the most benefit in marketing to this group because, just like microwaves, it won’t be long before every house on the market offers them.
What is a Smart Home and Who’s Buying Them?
You’ve heard it called many names: “eHome,” “home automation,” and “smart living.” Smart homes can have a diverse range of interconnected electronic devices that are programmed to increase efficiency and save money. Early examples included things like automated lawn sprinklers and remote-controlled garage doors. However, these days, homes can be much more sophisticated. Through computer-to-computer communication, homeowners can monitor and control everything from their home’s audio and video systems to air conditioning and security alarms—all via their smartphone or tablet.
Smart home technologies are growing in popularity among home buyers. A recent survey revealed that 42% of real estate agents reported that their clients were interested in smart home devices.
The top home functions that realtors said homeowners wanted smart technologies to address were security, privacy, cost savings, energy saving, and comfort. With tech-savvy Millennials and Gen-Yers now comprising the largest group of home buyers, it makes business sense to target this growing market by installing modestly-priced smart technologies in your investment homes.
Realtors Reporting on the Importance of Smart Home Devices
What’s Hot in the Smart Home Devices
There’s no shortage of options for smart home technologies, and sorting through them to pick the best bet can be overwhelming. To help you pinpoint which devices are most popular and cost-effective, we asked some of our HomeVestors® franchisees. Together, they have bought over 95,000 houses nationwide since 1996. They have the expertise to get investment properties sold with the best possible return-on-investment.
Here are their top picks for smart home technology that you can install for under $250:
The Nest app puts a variety of home functions, from indoor temperature to security, at the touch of your fingertips via smartphone or computer. There are four Nest-branded products—a thermostat, an indoor camera, an outdoor camera, and smoke/carbon monoxide detector—that can be controlled in the app. However, dozens of more products, from appliances to beds and fitness bands are available to extend Nest’s utility. The most attractive thing about the Nest is that if you connect other smart products to a Nest device, they will begin to work in collaboration and optimize home functions. And, you don’t even have to program them to do it!
While the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is the least expensive Nest product, some HomeVestors® franchisees recommend going with the learning thermostat, as that tends to be the most attractive money-saving and environmentally-friendly feature for Millennials.
#2 Amazon Echo
Fundamentally, the Echo is a voice-controlled virtual assistant that can stream audio from a variety of sources including your favorite music channels and audio books. However, it can also serve as your trivia partner, talk you through a recipe, or order a pizza if you’re too tired to cook. More than just a convenient pal, the device is compatible with hundreds of other money-saving technologies like smart switches, LED lights, climate controls, and security gadgets.
Compared to the Nest, HomeVestors® franchiseess may notice that the Echo only relies upon audio; there are no visual displays to manage the device. This aside, the Echo’s possibilities are endless! But, they say your best bet is to install the device with only one or two modest add-on technologies, like smart lighting, just to hint at the capabilities. HomeVestors® franchisees appreciate this product for being an affordable smart home technology that will woo Millennials who are eager to select additional digital tools that fit their particular lifestyle to enhance Echo’s capabilities.
#3 Netgear Arlo Pro
With a moderate price-point compared to other surveillance cameras on the market, the Netgear Arlo Pro offers better features than most. It is simple to set up, weatherproof, and has long-lasting rechargeable batteries. The related Android and iPhone app can be used to program the alarm to sound when it detects activity in the home. Even better, Netgear Arlo Pro offers more flexibility than other cameras, boasting third-party integrations with solutions like IFTTT (If This Then That) and Samsung SmartThings—which home buyers can add on later if desired.
This surveillance camera gets a thumbs up vote from a number of HomeVestors® franchisees, but while it is a solid product, it’s expansion capabilities are limited compared to other smart home upgrades. Netgear Arlo Pro’s biggest selling point is that homeowners don’t have to pay for an expensive subscription service to view their cloud-based recordings. This means a lot to cash-conscious Millennial buyers who are concerned about security.
#4 Philips Hue Smart Lighting System
This lighting system provides complete wireless control of both the intensity and the color of indoor lighting from an app. Unlike some of the other smart lighting systems out there, Philips Hue integrates with a lot of other smart home technologies. And, the Hue White is competitively priced, making it the least expensive smart home addition on our list.
HomeVestors® franchisees like this product because it does double duty too. Sometimes nothing sells a house better than ambiance, and Philips lighting creates just that—which is great for open houses and showings.
#5 August Smart Lock, HomeKit enabled
This is not the cheapest smart lock out there but it is the most versatile. The August Smart Lock uses Bluetooth to communicate with a user’s phone, whether to automatically lock or unlock the doors or to track who is coming and going from the home. Through the associated app, users can grant guests temporary or permanent access to the home. It also supports Apple’s HomeKit platform, which allows users to control the lock remotely using Siri voice commands.
HomeVestors® franchisees like this smart home product because it is easy to install and Apple is a top brand that Millennials flock to. That said, it costs just about as much as the higher-rated smart home technologies on this list and the homebuyer would have to purchase the pricey HomeKit to get full functionality out of the product. As a result, our HomeVestorsⓇ subject-matter-experts say that for a more economical choice, you may choose one of the other products discussed.
Small Things Can Make a Big Difference
Millennial home buyers look to the latest technologies to carve out more time in their busy lives and save some of their hard-earned money. Staging your investment home for sale with a strategically-selected smart home product can help them envision the lifestyle that the house can provide. And, it doesn’t have to break your bank to install them. Prices are now within reach, but the seasoned HomeVestors® franchisees we interviewed don’t recommend going all out—just one or two products can be enough to engage the imaginations of Millennial buyers.
With years of experience buying distressed properties, renovating, and selling them at full market value, HomeVestors® franchisees are well-practiced at knowing what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to new trends in smart home technology. For more information on how you can benefit from our investment know-how, check out the guide to boosting return-on-investment for real estate investors, and for more information about becoming a franchisee, contact us today.
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