The New Frontier of Staging: Smart Home Features

The New Frontier of Staging: Smart Home Features By Christy Matte Few realtors would be surprised to hear that the vast majority of Americans want move-in ready homes. But it may be news to you that, according to a recent study by Coldwell Banker and Parks Associates, of the 71% of buyers who want move-in ready homes, a whopping 44% want them to include smart home technology. This new frontier of home features is grabbing buyers’ attention and requiring a new level of expertise from realtors. While you may find those statistics a little intimidating (and perhaps a little exciting as well), with a little preparation, you can not only highlight these highly desirable features in your listings, but you can also incorporate them into the staging and showing process itself. Here’s how. Assess the Situation Have a chat with the current owners about their smart technology and find out what they have. Make sure they disclose any built-in features, or leave-behind devices that are connected to Wi-Fi. This may include security systems and cameras, connected thermostats, smart appliances, connected utility meters, sprinkler systems, garage doors, connected smoke alarms, and even things like smart blinds and shades. Buyers will likely want to know about any ongoing costs, so make sure to gather that information. Provide guidance on how buyers will be able to maintain the smart home features once they move in, including information about the security company or internet service provider. Break It Down This may take some homework on your part, but you can help inform your buyers by presenting them with a concise list of smart home features broken out by potential benefits, such as cost-saving features, safety considerations and convenience. Having this information at your fingertips can also make it easier to appeal to specific types of buyers. Young, child-free couples may be more focused on entertaining and saving money, while a growing family may have safety and security as their priorities. Get Oriented You can’t show off smart home technology unless you know how it works. Have the homeowner give you a tour of the devices and features. Try them out and make sure you can comfortably show them off to others. While this is a time investment early on, it will help you build expertise that will pay off with future clients who will trust you to sell their smart homes at top dollar. Set the Scene Impress buyers with a home that is welcoming and ready to show, before you even walk in. Make sure you have access to any remotes and mobile apps you need to control the features you’d like to feature during open houses and showings. If you have permission from the homeowner, use the apps to set thermostats to a comfortable temperature, adjust shades and lights for optimal lighting, and play quiet music in the background to make the space inviting. A smart oven can be turned on from afar to get your cookies baking. Put on a Show Smart home technology can up your staging game, allowing the home to shine at another level. This is where you can have some fun with the prospective buyers. Depending on the technology that is available in the home, these are some creative ways to show off the many smart features: Provide buyers a code to open the smart lock on the front door themselves.
  • Conduct a video tour using all of the interior and exterior cameras, and show the entire house via mobile app, before even leaving the front entryway.
  • Let them start a wash remotely with a connected washing machine.
  • Use your voice to control features as you walk around the home: Close the blinds, turn on the lights in a pleasing color, and start playing a certain song.
  • Customize the scene to your buyers. Will it be a disco party? A meditation space? A Halloween theme? Make it fun.
  • If you’re driving them to the showing, have the garage open automatically as you arrive.
  • Show how motion sensors can not only trigger an alarm, but can also adjust the temperature in the room, turn lights on and off and control other devices, like a stereo system.
With a little creativity and preparation, you’re ready to enter this new frontier. Use smart features to get this new wave of tech-enthused buyers excited about their new home and their future lives in it. Christy Matte is a mom of two and a Boston-based writer who covers home security for XFINITY Home. She is also a die-hard techie who blogs at

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