Because of the housing market upswing, my husband and I made the decision to sell our home and upgrade to something a little bigger, a little newer, in a neighborhood closer to the mountains where our kids can start school this fall. A young, newlywed couple fell in love with our home and the Control4 system was the icing on the cake. The husband actually downloaded the MyHome app during his first tour of the home so he could start figuring out how it works. Which got us thinking ... what happens when you sell a home that has a Control4 system? Here are a few important tips for sellers and buyers to make sure the transition is an easy one.
Having a smart home can certainly be a bonus when you’re selling your home. The investment you’ve made in your system would likely impress potential buyers. According to an April 2013 Better Homes & Gardens survey, 64% of those surveyed wouldn’t live in a home that wasn’t up-to-date with the latest tech capabilities and 84% believe technology is an absolute home essential. So your Control4 home is likely in high-demand. But how do you sell it, value it, and make sure the transition is a good one?
- Promote the “smart home” feature.
Obvious, but make sure you note that the house is a smart home, or has a home automation system in it. We, of course, recommend that you specify that it’s a Control4 smart home.
- Promote value and clarify inclusions.
You know how much you invested in your automation system. As with most enhancements and remodels you make to your home, you might not get back out every single penny you invested but you should definitely work with your real estate agent to figure out how much value the system adds to the sales price of your home. You should also make sure that you are clear about the inclusions and exclusions. For instance, if you have a home theater, are you leaving the projector and screen? Are you taking any of the remotes or touch-screens or smart door locks with you to the new home? Home automation is kind of a new feature for most buyers and agents so it’s better to be clear up front than to run into confusion later in the process.
- Make a plan to transfer the system, understanding the process and any related costs.
Give your buyer the name and contact information for your dealer along with any documentation or instructions they may have provided you. If you are planning to install Control4 in your new home (and why wouldn’t you?!), you may want to talk to your dealer ahead of time about transferring your account to the new home system and how that works. Your buyer will probably want to set up an entirely new system, but the dealer may prefer to transfer the settings (the project) as it stands so they don’t have to start from scratch.
As far as costs go, some homeowners factor an initial “transfer” service fee into the price of the home. A quick call with your dealer will not only give you an idea of how much the fees will be to transfer the system over, but you can also talk about the logistics so you can communicate clearly to the new owners. This seems to work out nicely for everyone involved because the transition is professionally managed and seamless. Some sellers even include a one-year support contract with their dealer as part of the sales price, kind of like an extended warranty. Those people are really nice. For us, since we didn’t think about this brilliant idea ahead of time, we simply contacted our dealer and asked for the transition fee estimate and process and then communicated that to the new owners.
- Make sure your buyer knows the system basics.
A basic walk through (before you shut off your Internet service and take all your wireless networking out!) will be very helpful. Just like you would show a new owner how to winterize sprinklers or where the shut-off valves are, you should also show them the system basics, where the gear is located and answer any questions you can. For instance, we took our buyer down to the basement to show him where the thermostat lives. The actual temperature sensor is just above an in-wall touch screen in the kitchen—skillfully hidden behind wall texture and paint so it’s invisible.
- Get with your Control4 Dealer and start planning the installation of your new system.
Speaking from experience, I lasted all of a week in our new house before I realized that I really can’t live without those “can’t live without them” features. So you might as well make sure your new home is fully automated the moment you move in.
Buying a Control4 home? Check out:
Buying a Control4 Home: Transitioning a Previously-Owned System