For buyers, the home purchasing process can be a difficult one that comes with a lot of questions. They may wonder, do the appliances stay? Will the built-in bar stools come with the house? Should a carbon monoxide detector be installed before the sale is finalized?
These questions are still relevant, but with the latest advances in home technology, you are probably hearing some new questions. Does the smart thermostat stay? What about the smart lock and security system? How do the smart switches work?
More sellers are viewing smart technology as an added value upgrade to their homes, and many are willing to install it to boost the chances of a sale. As such, it’s imperative that real estate agents familiarize themselves with popular smart devices, so they can be an asset to both buyers and sellers when questions come up.
It’s helpful to determine up front whether you’re dealing with a smart home or just a home with a lot of smart stuff. Smart homes have a brain through which many aspects of the home, such as audio, lighting, curtains, security, and thermostats, can be controlled. A smart home may be controlled by voice commands, phone commands via an app, or a website. The general rule of thumb is that a home should have at least three connected devices to be considered a smart home.
More likely than not, you’re showing a home with smart stuff that has been installed and possibly linked together over time. As such, it’s important to take note of all the smart technology that’s been implemented and how it can be used. Before a showing, ask the seller to walk you through the smart technology in the home, providing a demo of how it’s controlled. Pay attention to how the technology is accessed. Does it use an app? Is there a password? The method of access will provide clues as to how the transfer from buyer to sell will be addressed.
If you’re listing or showing a home that includes smart technology and the technology is staying with the house, consider the following:
Create an inventory of all connected devices, including any manuals, manufacturer information, warranties and websites. Look for garage doors, thermostats, lighting systems, smoke detectors, sprinklers, appliances, security systems, etc.
Confirm with the sellers that they will be relinquishing administrative access to these devices. This can usually be achieved by restoring all smart devices to their original factory settings.
Disable connectivity as necessary.
Reset access and guest codes for garage door openers or security systems as needed.
The goal should be to move the authority for any smart devices from seller to buyer, protecting everyone’s personal information during the transition. Both parties are going through a major life event and are relying on their real estate agent to guide them through the process. Take the time to understand everything that’s hooked up in the home you’re showing, so you can help both the buyer and seller in closing the deal.
This post was written by Alison M. Alison M. is a Regulatory Analyst at Acuity. During the work day, Alison helps keep Acuity in compliance with the ever-changing laws and regulations in the states in which Acuity operates. Prior to her role at Acuity, Alison worked as a paralegal, serving clients filing for bankruptcy, facing criminal defense charges, or claiming personal injury after an auto accident. Outside the work day, Alison does a lot of yoga, cooks a lot of good food, and spends a lot of quality time with her husband and dog.