The One Smart Home Feature That Real Estate Agents Say Isn’t Worth the Money

published Nov 22, 2021
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A person standing in front of an open refrigerator inside a kitchen
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Oh, how far homeowners have come since “Smart House” was merely the name of a Disney Channel original movie with what felt like a far-fetched premise. Technology has advanced far beyond “The Clapper” — people can talk to their thermostats through their phones (and every other appliance via the Internet of things). As cool as it may be, it turns out one very specific piece of home technology isn’t what’s going to make a buyer put in a generous offer on your house.

Homebuyers continue to be interested in smart locks, smart doorbells, smart thermostats, and smart lighting. According to Zillow’s most recent consumer housing trends report, 40 percent of buyers consider a property with smart home capabilities to be important to them, compared to 27 percent in 2018.

But when it comes to a costly device that can’t be easily replaced, there’s one that’s not worth installing ahead of a sale. Matthew Rathbun, executive vice president for Coldwell Banker Elite, who developed a Smart Home Certification course through the National Association of Realtors, points to an appliance that might not give you the ROI you’re aiming for: