Making homes smart through automation

Making homes smart through automation

If you are like many Americans, you have considered adding technology in the home to automate basic operations and entertainment systems. Core functions like lights and automating thermostats not only make your life easier and your home more efficient, but also it’s potentially more valuable when it is resold.

Many consumers cite voice control as the most important element of a smart home, but new digital products are incorporating a wider range of home functions and controls.

It helps to think of home automation as a type of “hub and spoke” arrangement. With a controller unit that acts as a home base, you can configure your preferred devices through cloud-based apps managed by a computer or smart device.

Some products are focused on home security and climate control and can team up with other products to include control over home entertainment systems for music and videos.

Regardless of the brand, the array of home functions that can be controlled has become rather expansive and includes:

  • Security (including cameras, alarms, links to emergency services).
  • Lights.
  • HVAC (heat, air conditioning, fans).
  • Door, garage locks and remote opening.
  • DVRs, televisions, home theater systems.
  • Appliances.
  • Voice-controlled access to news, sports and weather.

Security automation takes center stage

Home security has developed from third-party monitoring to remote monitoring through smartphones. Exterior home security systems include cameras, sensors and controllers that protect against intruders, fire and smoke and water infiltration. With these products you’ll be alerted first, then the 24/7 monitoring team with an option to contact local emergency personnel as well.

Other security-focused automation companies offer design-forward products in customizable packages. These modular products allow you to purchase a basic home security system and scale up in price with added features if you desire.

The value proposition for home automation

Simply having a device that automates lights and responds to voice commands will not increase the value of your home. Even with more expensive home systems, quantifying whether a system increases your home value is difficult.

However, agents in some markets believe that given two homes that are equivalent in all other aspects (square footage, number of bedrooms and other features), the home that has true control over utilities, security and entertainment can expedite a sale.

Managing the temperature and regulating consumption of water through smart irrigation can reduce consumption and cost. Most local utilities provide you with an analysis showing your home’s consumption compared to neighboring homes. Another type of analysis compares your home’s utility consumption versus the prior year and trailing months.

The conclusion for value seems to be that over time, smart home automation is becoming something that a lot of buyers expect to see, but it has not translated into a verifiable way to increase the value of a home. In contrast, smart thermostats and solar systems that reduce energy consumption create value through lower operating costs that can be capitalized over the life expectancy of the system cost.

At First Centennial Mortgage, we provide an array of residential mortgages suitable for virtually any of your home finance needs. We provide in-house processing for our loans and our in-house staff can advise you about many different lending options for your personal needs.

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