Imagine buying a new home. You fought through the bidding, negotiation, appraisal and inspection. You’ve provided every possible financial document that the mortgage could possibly want. Then you closed, signing page after arthritis-inducing page of legalese that you only understand because the mortgage officer explained them to you.
This is one of the happiest days of your life. You’ve achieved the American dream. You bought your dream house. But after you move in, you start to notice… things.
The thermometer keeps resetting itself to a higher temperature. Your front door keeps unlocking itself. The garage door is up when you come home and you can swear that you closed it before you left. As spooky as this may seem, you don’t have to worry about ghosts and poltergeists. But you may need to check your house for the Internet of Things.
According to a report by Harbor Research and Postscapes, the smart-home industry generated almost $80 billion in sales in 2014. From smart thermostats to home monitoring systems to smart doorbells and locks, smart devices are becoming more common in today’s homes. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 30 million U.S. homes have some form of smart technology built in.
That’s why it’s so important to check your new home for IoT upgrades and reset them when you find them. Otherwise, you’re allowing the former owners to have access to your security cameras, thermostat, door locks and garage doors. And don’t forget about the lights. You don’t want anyone altering your perfect mood lighting.
Also, before you buy your home, be sure to ask about any smart features already installed. Currently, only about 15% of buyers ask their realtors about any potential smart technology already in the home.
As for who owns the devices after the sale of the home, most of that can be determined by how the device is physically fixed in the house. Thermometers and door locks are fixtures in the house and should remain with it, while webcams or smart assistants should go with the sellers when they move out. Status of other devices should be negotiated and written down in an addendum to the sales contract.
The house of tomorrow is no longer in the future. It’s here now and being bought and sold by people that don’t know what they’re getting. So be diligent and do your homework. With the right smart fixtures and devices, you can have added safety and security, convenience, entertainment and cost-efficiency. And those are upgrades that everyone will want in their new home.