Nowadays all you hear about is new technology, from electric cars that park themselves to commercial flights bound for space. Well in real estate, Smart Homes are the “new thing”! Smart-home systems start at around $2,000 and top out at more than $1 million, offering homeowners remote-controlled lighting, window shades, swimming pools, door locks, thermostats and security cameras – not to mention cutting-edge sound systems and home theaters. I’ve even seen a system that turns a regular TV room into a nightclub with the touch of a button on your iPad. Innovation is the key to growth and from my experience as a Realtor; it pays to trick your house or business out with the latest gadgets.Don’t just do it to impress friends, family, and customers, but think of potential buyers, as well! In working with clients of all budgets, all over Los Angeles, and in both commercial and residential real estate, I’ve come across some interesting technology and trends. Some of these trends and gadgets are unimaginably expensive, others I find useless, while some are pretty impressive and tangible for home and business owners. Below are some of the smart home trends I’ve seen, which are useful and affordable, and will increase the value and “It Factor” of your property almost instantly!
1. NEST: The smart version of your everyday thermostat, designed to learn the temperatures you prefer while switching to energy efficient settings while you’re away. The more I look at homes, in all price ranges, but mainly those that have been recently updated, the more I see this Nest feature that sellers and agents are always bragging about or pointing out. Essentially it gives new life and sleekness to the boxy, outdated, boring old thermostats you see and throws in a feature that allows you to control the temperature of your home while you’re away, learns what you like, and helps you save a few bucks on your energy bill. Nest runs about $250 and seems to be worth every penny from what I hear.
2. Cyber Rain Sprinkler System: This is a sprinkler controller with a brain. It uses the internet to check the weather and automatically adjusts run times. This system is ideal for the homeowner who wants to conserve water and be alerted to problems with their landscape. The Cyber Rain Pro checks your controller status every time it waters and emails if it detects a problem. If an optional flow meter is attached, the Cyber Rain Pro will also email you if you have a broken sprinkler head or a leak in your irrigation pipes. The system can also be remotely accessed by your landscape professional. Considering the costs of water and the serious drought problems in CA, this sounds like a smart investment. I’m surprised more people aren’t using technology like this to conserve water and save cash! It’ll run you about $700 bucks, but I’ve seen some of my clients’ water bills and trust me…it’s worth it!
3. Phillip Hue: Combines brilliant LED light with intuitive technology. Puts both in the palm of your hand. According to the company site: “Together, the bulbs, the bridge, and the app will change the way you use light. Forever. Experiment with shades of white, from invigorating blue to soothing yellow. Or play with all the colors in the hue spectrum. Hue can wake you up. Help protect your home. Relive your favorite memories, and even improve your mood.” This is a smart LED lighting product that you control from you iOS device. Basically this system takes your home’s or business’ mood lighting to the 21st century. So when you’re putting your home on the market or planning a big restaurant opening, consider “setting the mood” and see what transpires! Costs $200 and you can buy it at the Apple Store.
4. Yale Smart Locks: Sleek Motorized Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt for Remote and Automated Access Control. Runs about $250 and combines a highly secure lockset with an illuminated 12-button touchscreen keypad, which allows users to lock and unlock their home via manual control or Z-Wave compatible home controllers. The lock stores up to 25 custom entry codes for easy manual locking and unlocking, plus an automatic deadbolt lock function. It’s designed for seamless integration with any Z-Wave product or central home controller to allow for monitoring of the lock’s status and remote lock/unlocking of your doors. An upcoming Yale lock will feature NFC (near-field communication) tech that will allow you to open it by waving your smart phone over it Jedi-style. With devices like this, you’ll never get locked out again!
5. The iSmartAlarm System: The system is modular, letting you buy the pieces you need in order to put together the perfect system for your home. You’ll need a CubeOne, which is the brain of the system, and then you can add sensors for doors and windows, cameras, motion detectors and remote control keyfobs. If any alarms come up, you’ll get an alert on your phone, and you can see what’s happening through the app in order to respond appropriately. You can also use iSmartAlarm to see if your family is home — even when you’re working late — and check that all of the doors and windows are closed and locked before heading to bed. Starts at $199, while safety and peace of mind are definitely priceless!
These days, you can automate just about everything, depending on your budget and needs. The smart home & business trend is something new today, but soon it’ll become the norm and be expected, so get ahead of the game and turn your home or business into a smart one! We may not be living quite like the Jetsons yet, but we’re getting there! If you’re looking for tips or recommendations for home automation, please contact me.
As always, if you or someone you know is in need of real estate assistance, commercial or residential, I am happy to help! Please contact me direct or pass my information along!