You’ve made a decision to install smart devices in your home. You’ve carefully planned out what system you wish to invest in, where each device will go in the home, how they will all be connected and controlled in your home. Once you have it all setup and working well, you get the notice that you’ve been promoted and will need to sell your home and move to a different area. Now, what do you do with these smart home devices? Should they remain? Should they go? Are you able to keep your surveillance devices in place while buyers are in your home?
The emergence of connected devices, smart home, and the internet of things has created a new level of consideration for homeowners and their agents when selling their home. Unfortunately, not all agents are well versed in the legal, technological and contractual questions that come into play when selling a connected home. Several years ago Coldwell Banker began training agents and certifying them as Smart Home specialists. That process started with a definition of what a smart home actually is. Coldwell Banker worked with CNET to establish a standard by which agents across the country could market a home that met this new criteria.
The Smart Home Criteria
The criteria established by Coldwell Banker and CNET is as follows:
“Smart home: A home that is equipped with network-connected products (aka “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.”
This criteria was also later utilized in other specialty courses that agents can take to be certified as a smart home specialist, making it the only known standard in the country.
A properly trained agent can reduce the seller’s liability by understanding and using the smart home standard and existence of devices as they present the home to potential buyers. The agent can counsel you, as the homeowner, as to what devices need to remain to meet the criteria and which you could take with you to your next home.
An agent who has invested time in understanding smart homes can help you understand what the law or the contract would consider real property (things attached to the home) or personal property (things generally not needed for the home to function) and how to navigate these issues in the local contracts. Each state and local area may have their own contract that uniquely addresses smart home and connected devices and a trained agent will let you know how the transition is handled regionally.
Privacy and Security
It’s unfortunate, but true that some agents may not fully understand the question of liability for their seller with devices like smart cameras and security systems. There are federal and state regulatory standards as to who may or may not record or monitor a home buyer while they are in the seller’s home. A trained smart home specialist will understand the ways that the homeowner can keep their security systems in place, while not creating undue liability by having surveillance devices in the home.
It’s Not A Niche Any Longer
The ubiquity by which smart home devices can now be found in a seller’s home is almost staggering. Smart home devices have remained among the top selling gifts over the past few years and their affordability and ease of installation means that they are everywhere. But sadly, not many agents outside of Coldwell Banker have taken the industry leaders initiative and invested in property training. As far reaching as this technology is, not all licensed agents are well versed in it.
Choose Your Agent Wisely
Smart home certified agents know how to position the smart home properly to sell faster, they understand the best techniques to keep the home owners security systems in place without increasing the home owner’s liability and they understand how to best protect the seller’s interest in the contract negotiations when a buyer wishes for certain devices to convey or not.
If you’re a seller with smart home connected devices in your home, you should make sure that you have specific conversations with your agent during your listing interview, regarding their knowledge of the devices, how they intend to promote these features in your home and if they are competent enough to be your agent of choice in the selling process.