Having a smart home in Singapore helps to make our lives easier and more convenient, be it improving the security and safety of our home, trimming the energy bill, or managing and automating the devices in your house, such as lights, air-conditioners or TV.
But while they help to make our lives more comfortable, at the back of every homeowner’s mind is whether outfitting your home with smart home devices are sound investments. In other words, does it help to improve the resale value of your home should you sell it in the future?
After all, what use are voice-recognition or keyless locks if they’re not enough to sway potential buyers, right?
Curious? Read on to find out!
What Is a Smart Home?
Put simply, a smart home refers to a residence that’s equipped with smart devices. These devices are connected to the internet, allowing you to control them wirelessly or remotely via applications, voice control or even artificial intelligence.
A popular example of smart technology is smart speakers such as Google Nest and Amazon Echo. By speaking to these speakers, you can interact with the smart devices in your home to control or automate them to do things.
For example, you can control your lights, set the room temperature, to monitoring your home remotely.
Do Smart Home Devices Increase a Home’s Value?
According to agents we spoke to, the type of renovations that you do will affect the resale value of your property. Simple renovations that improve the home’s overall livability, efficiency and functionality tend to be popular among homebuyers, and are likely to increase a home’s resale value.
On the other hand, highly personalised renovations such as built-in furniture and open kitchen are potential turn-offs.
So, what about smart devices? Does smartening a home with smart devices such as lights, thermostat, or locks help to increase your home’s resale value?
Bren Soon, Division Director at Huttons Asia, says that generally, smart home features do not increase a home’s resale value because buyers do not prioritise them when looking for a home.
However, he said that younger buyers may resonate with smart homes better, though they may not necessarily pay more for them.
“Younger buyers who are more tech-savvy and appreciative of smart technology may find it interesting. However, they may not be willing to pay more for the property because the cost of installing smart devices is actually cheaper as compared to the overall price of the property.”
Edwin Wee at Singapore Estate Agency also agrees. "Younger buyers may be more inclined to have smart home features such as automated lights, digital facial recognition locks and voice recognition appliances that allow them to draw or close their curtains, or turn on their robot vacuum."
Although Smart Homes May Not Fetch a Higher Price, Some Smart Features Help Make It Easier to Sell
While smart homes may not necessarily increase your home’s resale value, Bren said that some smart features help to make your home more appealing to buyers, especially if they can resonate with the tech.
“For example, smart lights that automatically turn on when you step into the bathroom. This feature helps young children who can’t reach the light switch. Parents will also appreciate the convenience of not being woken up by their kids if they want to visit the bathroom.
“Apart from that, smart security features such as smart doorbell camera or QR code generators for visitors are also popular. Explaining the benefits and convenience of these smart features would give a better impression of your home and make it stand out from the rest.”
Another smart tech that may help to sell your home is a temperature screening camera that can detect the temperature of individuals. This is especially true during COVID-19.
Apart from that, smart cooling and energy-saving systems were among the top features that home buyers look for, according to a study by PropertyGuru.
Similarly, Edwin said that smart features are just ‘bonus’ features. Buyers typically look at more decisive factors such as renovation work done, floor level and house orientation. "If you’re buying a car with a $10k sound system for example, the main appeal is not the sound system, rather, it’s the car itself."
Smart Home Products That Are Potential Turn-Offs
On the flip side, smart home features that are too personalised or too techie will affect your home’s resale value. For example, if the feature is hobby-related, buyers may use it to negotiate the price down, Bren said.
“I once chanced upon a home that had mini speakers wired around the whole house. This caused a fair bit of devaluation to the property. Buyers who viewed the house wished to remove them and factored in the cost of dismantling all the mini speakers.
“Another example is older folks who are not tech-savvy; they may find it challenging to operate a home with built-in smart features because they’re unfamiliar with the technology.
From his experience, Edwin also agrees that older buyers are more likely turned off by smart devices because they worry about operating the devices as well as the cost of repairs if they break down. "Hence, it might be harder to convince older buyers as they prefer ‘traditional’ ways of turning on their appliances."
Conclusion: Smart Homes Aren’t for Everyone, but Having Practical Smart Home Features Help
In short, smart tech isn’t very popular among Singaporean homeowners. If you have a smart home and you’re concerned about your home’s resale value in the future, or thinking of smart tech as an investment, one thing you could do, is to relay the features and benefits to your agent so that he/she can educate the buyer. This also helps to differentiate your home from the rest.
Another tip is to go with a smart feature that’s familiar to the average consumer so that it’s easier to explain. For example, you can talk about the benefits of smart LED lights, such as how they help to reduce energy cost while also allowing the occupants to set the mood and tone of the house.
Remember that while a smart home can help to make things easier and more convenient, it’s also important not to overly emphasize on smart features. If you plan to install sophisticated or expensive tech, be prepared that not all buyers are willing to pay more for your home.
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