When purchasing a home, buyers used to partly base their decisions on how to customize their home based on resale value.
However, in recent years, interior design experts have noticed that homebuyers are no longer building and designing homes with the next owner in mind.
So, what’s causing the shift in designing homes? Smartphones. Or rather, smart home technology that’s easily controlled via smartphone, laptop or other mobile device.
Homebuyers went from carefully scrutinizing the necessity of every costly home renovation to desiring “every square inch of our homes to be functional and usable,” with no regard to who is next in line to live in that home, says Rose Dostal, a Cleveland-based interior designer and owner of RMD Designs.
A Change in Home Personalization
Carla Aston, owner of The Woodlands, Texas-based Aston Design Studio and also a design blogger, Aston observes that her clients’ eagerness to acquire modern conveniences crosses every generational boundary.
In fact, even Boomers — typically a demographic that embraces simplicity and is more easily stumped by new technology — are just as likely to use a smartphone app, like those that control home security systems, to control different systems in their homes as Gen Xers and Millennials.
While a home security system may be a convenience for everyone, there are popular customizations that homeowners are installing that have little to do with convenience and more to do with wellness.
Aston customized one home for a client with a progressive neurological disease. The house sold to a second owner, who said that it was those unique customizations that made the home so appealing, even though no one in his family has any neurological issues.
Tech is More Affordable and Easier to Install
Low installation and equipment costs are one reason why feelings toward smart home technology has evolved in a positive way.
Fifteen years ago, homeowners were still hardwiring everything: computers had to be plugged into the wall and security and entertainment systems were tethered to telephone landlines, video cameras, speakers and unwieldy cable boxes. This type of wiring work is a massive undertaking best done when a home is in the construction stages, as owners who initiate labor-intensive projects after construction usually pay a premium.
Folding those upgrade costs into a home’s resale value today could backfire because of how soon technology becomes obsolete. Remember those in-wall iPod docks and in-wall phone charging stations that were clever just a few years back?
As homebuyers outfit their home with the latest home technology, it’s important to remember that a lot of today’s technology is mostly wireless, so there are fewer repercussions or loss in value when equipment becomes outdated.
Much of the smart home technology out there is meant to simplify maintenance of the home, making these features attractive to today’s homebuyers. “The goal is for technology in the home to help make life easier,” says Dostal.
Where Homes Are Going
The bottom line is that today’s conveniences have a more widespread appeal. Sure it’s cool that your new refrigerator can tell you if you’re running out of milk, but what of the thermostat that can learn your family’s preferences to help save you money on heating and cooling costs?
What started out as a technology that once seemed kitschy has transformed the way we design our homes. With the plethora of smart home technology out there today, we can only expect homes to adapt to the way we live today, in virtually any way possible.
Riki Markowitz is a contributor to NewHomeSource, writing on everything related to homes and homebuilding. Her writing and editing expertise is in real estate, health, personal finance, travel and pop culture.