The Eco-Friendly Home Feature That’s Worth Every Penny, According to a Realtor

updated Apr 12, 2021
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Credit: Julia Steele

Survey after survey shows that today’s homebuyers are interested in turnkey, move-in-ready properties. Oftentimes, that means homes with smart technology and green features — and there’s one home addition that checks both of those boxes.

Installing a smart thermostat should be on your to-do list if you’re a homeowner, according to Jeanne Blaisdell, a broker and realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Yost & Little Realty.

“They’re a foundational feature,” says Blaisdell, who has a green designation from the National Association of Realtors. Smart thermostats allow for continuous energy and cost savings, making them a great stepping stone to other green tech.

Why would you want a smart thermostat?

According to Energy Star, heating and cooling accounts for 42 percent of the average annual electric bill in the US. With a smart thermostat, you could potentially save hundreds by simply adjusting your thermostat when you’re out of the home, sleeping, or during fluctuations in the weather.

“Smart thermostats learn the homeowner’s heating and cooling cycles and then build a schedule,” Blaisdell says. “But they are more advanced than a programmable thermostat.”

While programmable models also work with a preset schedule, smart thermostats use features like geofencing and motion sensing to gauge when to turn the heat up or down. Some models can even check the weather and use that information to regulate air conditioning, auxiliary heating, and humidity.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi connectivity means that users can control their heating and cooling from anywhere. This can be especially helpful when returning home after a trip, says Blaisdell. 

How much do smart thermostats cost?

“There are a range of price points and it really depends on the homeowner,” Blaisdell says.

While models like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee Smart Thermostat ring up at around $240 to $250, touting features like voice control and elevated displays, other well-reviewed models like the Honeywell Lyric Mysa Smart Thermostat are more affordable but are still designed to improve energy efficiency through geofencing and smart learning capabilities.

“You can even find smart thermostats that don’t have quite all the features but still can offer some good value at Lowes or Home Depot,” adds Blaisdell. These wallet-friendly models are a solid choice for smart home beginners working within a budget.

Regardless of the model, Blaisdell says smart thermostats are fairly easy to install on your own. But before getting started, homeowners should confirm that the thermostat model is compatible with their home’s wiring system. You should also avoid installing a new thermostat during extreme weather events, when you are reliant on a functioning HVAC system for heating and cooling.

A smart thermostat might make a home more attractive to future buyers.

With an increasing number of homebuyers interested in green home features, a smart thermostat can factor into your home’s value and be a selling point for prospective buyers. “A new homeowner can see that the smart thermostat is something the home already has at play that could be of benefit to them if they move in,” says Blaisdell. 

She adds that not everyone will be familiar with green tech. “With any eco-friendly feature like a smart thermostat, it may not be evident to the buyer, so promoting any and all green features would be an important part of the overall marketing of the home,” she says.