The Smart Home

It is now easier than ever to control virtually everything in a home with the simple click of a button or smart phone app. What was once only science fiction has become reality.

Not only can smart gadgets make homes more convenient and efficient, they also have the potential to increase home values and make them more attractive to buyers. Here are three popular smart home upgrades that could potentially increase home value and desirability, especially among millennial buyers who crave convenience and technology:

 

ThermostatScreen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.46.33 AM.png

Programmable thermostats have been around for decades and are standard in most homes. Smart thermostats, like nest, offer the ability to change the temperature and control it from your phone when you are away.

It even has the ability to track your temperature preferences and program itself within a week of installation.

Why Buyers Like This Feature
One huge advantage the nest has over other programmable thermostats is its ability to alert homeowners when a set temperature threshold has been reached.

Imagine having the ability to receive a notification that the temperature in your home is rapidly rising or falling alerting to a potential A/C or heat unit malfunction. This feature is especially comforting for people with pets. During the extreme summer and winter months, this could be potentially life-saving.

Another attractive benefit to a smart thermometer is the energy savings it promises. New home buyers are often concerned with potential future savings over the cost of their mortgage. The prospect of lowered energy bills is attractive.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.48.22 AMSmoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart smoke detectors not only sound an alarm when smoke is detected, they also monitor for carbon monoxide. These products are also available from nest.
These potentially life-saving gadgets can send alerts to your cell phone when danger is suspected.

Depending on the brand, some smart smoke detectors speak before they sound to allow the homeowner a       chance to dismiss the alarm before it sounds.

Why Buyers Like This Feature

Some homeowner insurance companies offer discounted premiums for homes with smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.50.40 AMKeyless Entry

Another smart gadget gaining popularity is keyless door locks. These devices have the ability to remotely lock and unlock doors from a smart phone. No more turning around to make sure you locked the front door or leaving keys under the mat.

At $250 per door as sold by august store, these locks are significantly more expensive than traditional locks.

Why Buyers Like This Feature

Among the advantages of keyless entry is the ability to program locks to allow certain access codes for specific time periods. For example, if you have a cleaning service or dog walker, you can provide them with a code to use on certain days and times only. This offers security and flexibility for many home owners.

OSCAR WINNING HOME STAGING TIPS

Why Home Staging Sells

It is critically important to show a home that is presented in its finest form. Statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for more money. Interestingly, it is estimated that only 10 percent of prospective buyers can visualize a home looking any different than the way it looks when they walk in the door. They need help!

Staged homes give the perception that a home is well-maintained and stylish. Working with the flow of a home, eliminating personal effects and clutter, and arranging furniture can make all the difference a home needs be best presented.

The Two Types of Staging

Occupied Home

In an occupied home, furniture can rearranged to showcase each room’s functionality and flow. Removing an abundance of personal effects allows the buyer to envision themselves in the home, rather than feel like an outside guest visiting. If the budget permits, upgrading floors, replacing countertops and adding a fresh coat of paint go a long way to spruce up a home.

Vacant Home

As is often the case with a vacant home, the buyer is focused on the things that need fixing, the cracks in the walls, the worn carpets, the dated countertops, etc. Buyers can also have difficulty envisioning what to do with the space. Staging offers suggestions they can build on.

Here Are a Few Pro Staging Tips to Help Your Sellers

1. Scent 
Candles, freshly baked cookies or room fragrances may seem to evoke pleasant associations, however, they can also bring about negative associations. While one person may love the smell of a particular scent, another may hate it.

Over masking with scent is also a red flags for buyers that there is an odor issue in the home. If there is an odor issue in a home, it is best to address the cause, rather than mask it.

2. Accents
Area rugs, pillows, bedding and lighting are a great ways to introduce color and newness to rooms. A family of color throughout the home weaves warmth and cohesiveness together. Well-lit rooms evoke space and openness.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize
The first thing a stager will likely do is remove many of your personal effects and decorations – do not take it personally. It is important to take a step back and realize that buyers want to envision your home, as their own. Creating a neutral environment will help buyers connect with a house and see themselves living in it.

4. Show Off Your Storage
Remove excess furniture, clothes and items in storage areas of the home such as closets. Buyers want to see the size of closets and storage area. 31 Ways to Make Over Your Closets

5. Don’t Forget the Outside! 
Curb appeal is your homes first impression. Spruce up its curb appeal by:
Mowing the lawn and trimming any necessary trees/shrubs
Power washing your driveway, deck, walkway and any other outside area
Add a fresh potted plant and a new doormat to welcome buyers to your home. Landscaping Ideas for Curb Appeal

The benefits of a well-staged home are plentiful. A staged home suggests that the home has been well maintained and may even shift attention away from imperfections and otherwise negative selling points.

Does staging really work? Read about how a Chicago area Keller Williams team has staged its way to multi-million dollar success.

Winter Selling Wonderland

With the cooler weather usually comes cooler home sales as well.  However, for the savvy seller, fall and winter could prove to be a very successful home selling season. In the winter, there is less competition on the market and winter buyers may be more motivated to buy as their need to move is more pressing.

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Motivated to sell this winter? Here are some tips for winter selling:

1. Take photos of the house on sunny days before the clouds take over and the leaves fall from the trees. Sellers want to be sure to show the full potential and beauty of the home. Reach out to clients now and suggest they get photos taken of their home in preparation for cold weather selling.

2. Create a virtual video tour of the home. In areas where the weather can get be especially stormy, offering potential buyers the opportunity to first see the home from the comfort of their own computer is helpful.

3. When hosting an open house, be sure to keep walkways and driveways clear. You don’t want any potential buyers to slip and fall on their way inside the home.

4. Keep the house warm. A warmer inside temperature will keep potential buyers inside longer. If someone will be in the home for a while, consider lighting a small fire in the fireplace to further warm the home and create an inviting space away from the cold.

5. Keep window curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible.

6. Create an atmosphere. In cooler months, you have the option to invite buyers to stay a little longer and enjoy a warm beverage and winter foods. Take this as an opportunity to really make them feel at home, and hopefully soon, they will be.

Another advantage of selling homes in the winter is the warmth and cheer of the holiday season. The holidays are a time for family, friends and gatherings. Create an environment that conveys the joy that has been shared in the home so buyers will be eager to move in and make their own memories. Avoid listing homes the week of Thanksgiving or the week of Christmas as buyers take that time off to enjoy the holidays. So, as the weather cools down, remember to use these tips and heat up your listing presentations.