If “a man’s home is his castle”, it seems we are constantly seeking to adapt our castles by adding features to its liveability – and one trend that ticks all the boxes and is gaining momentum at a rapidly increasing pace is smart home automation technology.
What exactly is it?
It’s not quite robots and self-replenishing refrigerators just yet. In general, it’s a category of systems and devices designed to transform an ordinary house into one with improved energy efficiency, safety and privacy. The technology is also focused on making daily tasks more convenient. From controlling your home’s temperature, lighting and security system, to having it all work together with just a simple voice command or by remote from anywhere in the world.
“The idea is to make your life cheaper and easier – such as lower power bills and no worries about losing the front door key ever again – and who wouldn’t want that?,” says Chris Wilkins, Director of Ray White Drummoyne. It turns out that the benefits might not just accrue directly to you and your family. “Smart automation can also boost the attractiveness of your home to prospective buyers”, says Mr Wilkins.
The smartest smart choices
Your 21st century castle may have quite a long list of upgrades pending, so if you’re considering investing in making your home smarter, which tech should you prioritise?
Without a doubt, those that have universal appeal, regardless of the age or generational sensibilities of both user and future purchaser. “Top of that list would be energy efficiency technology. Baby Boomers respond to savings on utility costs, whilst Gen X and Millennials are keen on the benefits to the planet as well as the back pocket”, says Mr Wilkins. He adds a recent home sold in Drummoyne with energy efficient lighting controlled from the owner’s phone, attracted a lot of comment and interest around how it worked and what savings could be generated. The ‘wow’ factor was significant.
Heating and cooling is responsible for 40% of household energy use, according to the Australian Government’s Your Home guide. A key tool in creating an energy efficient home, smart thermostat helps you keep your house at the optimal temperature, using the minimum necessary energy. Considering energy prices have shot up 80-90% in the last decade and sit at record highs, this makes every kind of sense.
A smart thermostat can deliver the right level of comfort with advanced presets and scheduling, and it can also respond with the seasons or the humidity within your home. Additionally, you can remotely control temperatures in every room from your phone no matter where you are, starting the warming or cooling process before you arrive home or overriding the temperature preferences of those residents not responsible for the paying the power bill!
Solar panels integrated to smart battery systems like Tesla’s Powerwall are also a big drawcard in the smart, energy efficient home market however that’s going to come with serious expense and is perhaps best considered when building from scratch to maximise utilisation.
Smart window treatments
At the more affordable end of the spectrum, powered window shades aren’t just a time saver. They allow you to open and close motorised blinds or shades from your mobile device or keypad on the wall, or programme them to open and shut on a schedule – they can even link to your smart thermostat and figure it out for themselves! Automating this daily chore can make a world of difference to home heating and cooling bills. Set your shades to block out the sun during summer, or open them to let the sun shine in, naturally heating your home in the winter, while you’re away at work.
The tech tradeoff
As technology, computers and the internet creep further into every aspect of our modern lives, embracing some or all of the smart home revolution may become a matter of when rather than if. However, whilst the products, market and interest in it is still developing, it may pay to keep in mind that the technology you see as useful, and as a ‘value add’ to your home, may not strike all of your potential buyers as such.
It could be predominantly generational, but there is a line to walk between technology being enticing or being off-putting. Everyone understands energy efficiency, but a variety of apps, keypads and touchscreens in addition to learning an normal new home’s features could be overwhelming. Most people value security, but sensors, cameras and sophisticated keyless entry may worry some, and technology failure and hacking is a legitimate concern for others.
The smart money, Mr Wilkins says, is on tech with broad, understandable appeal that can deliver measurable savings for homeowners. He recommends before going all out, Jetsons-style, you should consider who your home will attract when the time comes for you to move on.
Chris Wilkins is Director of Ray White Drummoyne. Over more than 20 years experience in the Sydney property market and with a depth of formal education that includes Sydney’s prestigious St Joseph’s College and globally renowned Columbia University, Chris Wilkins has built a solid reputation as one of the Australia’s most successful real estate agents. With an enviable knowledge base and a diverse and extensive client list that spans the globe, Chris is an international real estate practitioner and compelling industry spokesperson.
Known for his dynamic and energetic approach, the advent of every new campaign represents a fresh opportunity for Chris to tailor his knowledge to each client’s unique and individual needs. Achieving exceptional outcomes is a common theme for Chris, who remains passionate and enthusiastic throughout any challenge presented.
Committed to building relationships that extend far beyond the immediate transaction, Chris has built close ties with the local Drummoyne community through its schools, clubs and local businesses. His diverse and extensive client base includes high-profile business and sporting identities through to families who have continued to work with Chris repeatedly over many years and throughout new generations. In a world that is progressively becoming smaller, those clients are spread throughout Sydney and across the globe.
As the director of Ray White Drummoyne, Chris runs a boutique-style agency that incorporates property management and enjoys the backing and strength of the prestigious Ray White brand, now the largest real estate group in Australasia.
M: 0419 231 017