THE SMART HOME FEATURES THAT ARE REALLY TAKING OFF
Remote-controlled window shades, voice-activated TVs, and door bells with high-quality video were once limited to sci-fi novels, Hollywood movies, and TV shows like “The Jetsons.” But the future has arrived, and more tech-savvy homeowners are installing smart home technology. Color-changing lightbulbs, anyone?
Nearly half of homeowners renovating their pads are adding new technology while they’re at it, according to a recent report from Houzz, a home remodeling and design website. About 45% of homeowners are putting in at least one new system or device that can be remotely controlled or monitored on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Houzz conducted its inaugural survey in August of almost 1,000 homeowners who completed a home renovation project in the past 12 months or are planning a home renovation project in the next 12 months. It partnered with home technology trade association CEDIA for the research.
Folks in the middle of a renovation are more likely to invest in smart home technology because they’ve already set aside the time and money to make improvements on their residences, says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz.
Renovators are “thinking about what would make their home comfortable, more convenient,” she says. “And some of them are thinking about the resale values of their homes.”
But homeowners are still reluctant to drop too much dough on these new technologies. About three-quarters of homeowners spent—or planned to shell out—$1,500 or less on these modern-day gizmos. Only 5% were dropping $5,000 or more.
Still, more than half of the home renovators are passing on the glitzy new technology. They aren’t interested (no one really needs a smartphone-controllable slow cooker, we guess), think it’s too expensive, or are worried about being spied on by their own home. Why, hello smart TV! Didn’t see you there.
Those who get on the smart tech bandwagon tend to purchase safety and security systems, such as fire and gas alarms and tricked-out cameras, according to the survey. They make up 25% of the installations, and these buyers are the most likely to hire a professional to set them up.
That’s because owners said they worried about safeguarding their castles against intruders while they’re both home and away, according to the survey. Plus it’s pretty fun to show your co-workers, bank tellers, restaurant servers, and just about everyone else live video feed of your home on your smartphone while you’re out.
Smart entertainment systems, such as smart TVs, speakers, and streaming devices, are the second most popular installations. They make up about 18% of purchases.
That was followed by climate control, at 14%, so homeowners can fine-tune the heating and cooling of their homes and save big on their energy bills. Lighting makes up 12% of the upgrades.
“Homeowners are interested in improving the comfort of their home,” Sitchinava says. “It’s just a matter of time before they adopt the smart technology.”