More than 40% of REALTORS® say their residential clients are asking about smart homes and smart home technology — from smart locks, lights and thermostats to full home automation with voice commands — according to the Smart Homes and REALTORS® report released by the National Association of REALTORS® in November 2016. In it, NAR surveyed nearly 3,500 respondents about their thoughts and experiences regarding smart homes and smart devices.
Despite recognized high interest among clients, more than half, or 52% of the surveyed were not familiar with today’s options for smart home technology. Four in 10 REALTORS® in the U.S., would like to know more through smart home certification, according to the report. The desire to become certified in the area is especially strong among the more experienced REALTORS®, according to a Dec. 1, 2016 article on OPP.today. OPP (Overseas Property Professional) is a global business information and media group.
Smart devices matter to clients
The smart home devices that U.S. REALTORS® indicated are the most important to clients include smart locks, which makes sense given 80% of the professionals surveyed said security is somewhat or very important to clients. Next in importance are smart home lights and thermostats. Of those responding, 40% said cost and energy savings are very important to real estate clients, according to OPP.today.
NAR’s Chief Technology Officer Mark Lesswing said in the OPP.today piece that REALTORS® should become aware of and be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of smart home technologies, as these innovations become more popular.
To help those educational efforts, NAR has established the Center for Realtor Technology, which tracks emerging smart home technologies, helps inform members about what’s available and more. The NAR Center launched a lab in 2015 to investigate smart home, renewable energy, and other technologies that impact the industry.
Industry leaders, including Coldwell Banker, see the value in certifying real estate agents in smart home innovations. In fact, more than 300 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agents in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y., attended the company’s smart home certification seminar last year. Coldwell Banker’s smart home curriculum arms agents with the knowledge they need to advise buyers about smart home technology and the staging know-how to help sellers showcase smart technologies in their homes, according to the Sept. 8, 2016 article on NorthJersey.com, which reported on the event.
Demand for smart home technology grows
Becoming smarter about smart home technology is a smart move, according to data from global information provider The NPD Group, which announced Feb. 8, 2017, that U.S. sales of home automation products grew 57% in 2016 compared with 2015. While security and monitoring make up 60% of dollars spent in the category, sales for smart entry devices, including smart doorbells, are increasing.
Among the potential trends in smart homes and devices, according to RealityBizNews.com, which reported on the NPD’s announcement about home automation’s revenue growth, is that nearly 50% of the smart home products use some form of voice commands. What may be evolving is the choice of a digital assistant for voice-activated systems. Alexa usage levels are high among smart home product owners, according to RealityBizNews.
What do you think about smart home innovation certification for real estate agents? Do you think it’s necessary? Share with us in the comments below!