Recently released numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that new home sales were up 4.9% this past February, in the midst of a thriving real estate market — and it’s a good time for new property owners. That’s because today’s recent construction is more likely to be fully equipped with smart home technology and that can bring real savings. From smart thermostats to leak detection technology, home ownership is more sustainable and affordable than ever before.
Built-in smart home technology is not only a money saver, but it’s also a purchase incentive. According to research, 81% of homeowners would be more inclined to buy a house with these devices already installed. This is a sign of growing acceptance among American homeowners as such devices become more familiar, as well as being associated with the increase in millennials purchasing their first homes.
It’s important to be clear: not all smart technology saves homeowners money. Home security, for example, may occasionally earn homeowners insurance credits, but in most cases, it’s a cumulative cost with few financial advantages, while voice-controlled speakers may actually lead to reckless spending. Smart LED lighting and thermostats, on the other hand, are affordable options with sizeable savings potential and wide appeal.
Just how much savings do these basic upgrades promise? According to the property management experts at Green Residential, who manage a variety of homes and apartments across the Houston, Texas area, a basic smart thermostat saves homeowners between $131 and $145 per year. LED lights, on the other hand, save owners more as the number in use grows. Each will save owners $13 a year on average, but the average homeowner has at least five lights that can be converted to LED, and likely many more.
Sensing Serious Risks
While LED lights and smart thermostats are affordable options, even for those seeking to upgrade older homes, new construction offers more advanced and complicated options not ordinarily available. Just recently, Semtech announced new radio frequency technology that monitors changes in humidity and temperature to identify invisible water leaks.
In the past, such leaks could cause serious structural damage before they became visible to the naked eye, as well as fostering mold growth. By identifying leaks before they progress, however, this new technology can save homeowners the cost of major repairs and renovations.
Smart home technology provides savings through cumulative changes, much as any sustainability efforts do, but having that technology pre-installed is where homeowners achieve the biggest savings.
According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $189 to install a new smart home appliance, which means it will take over a year to recoup the costs of the average device. Depending on how disruptive that installation process is, this can be a deterrent to homeowners.
When smart home devices are preinstalled in new construction, the homes typically don’t cost more — the new technology simply displaces old technology - but the savings begin to accrue immediately. Homeowners are saved the disruption, but also the added cost of purchasing and installing these tools.
Time Is Money
Finally, while smart home devices provide clear financial savings, they’re also tools of convenience and, as the saying goes, time is money. By automating an array of tasks, smart appliances save homeowners time, with an average estimate of thirty minutes a day. While that’s not much on any individual day, over the course of a week, that’s three and a half hours of time that can be committed to other activities, along with added peace of mind, and increased sustainability.
In the next few years, the majority of homes on the market, whether new construction or older, renovated homes, will be expected to contain at least basic smart home devices — it will be the only way to compete. That’s good news for buyers, tech companies, and the environment, a rare advance in which benefits accrue to all participants.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant.Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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