Real Estate Agent Magazine Broker News The Smart Home Certification: Seize the Moment

The Smart Home Certification: Seize the Moment

As smart home tech becomes more mainstream, more of your clients will likely look for these cutting-edge features in their new homes – and your brokerage must be prepared.

Lindsay Hall spent 15 years working in corporate technology sales and marketing before transitioning into real estate. When the pandemic hit and the industry stopped functioning properly, Lindsay decided to use this time as an opportunity to earn her Smart Home Certification.

“I was just searching for what could help me stand out, so I picked something from my past to apply to real estate,” states Hall, co-founder of Ink Properties in Greenville, South Carolina. “A smart home can simplify and enhance our lives.”

Through her certification and ongoing research, she advises homebuyers and sellers on how simple tech installations can make their properties smart homes.

The Smart Home Certification
Real estate professionals were introduced to a 12-hour certification for smart homes designed to certify them as experts on this emerging trend in housing – technologically advanced properties. It cost $125.

Since its introduction in 2010, approximately 740 agents across the nation have initiated Smart Home certification classes; however, only 358 — or about 47%– of those who began have completed certification according to the Residential Real Estate Council, formerly the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS).

“Real estate professionals frequently tell me how glad they are they signed up for my class despite not understanding technology,” notes Kim Cameron, CRS, instructor of smart home certification courses across multiple states and broker associate with Better Homes & Garden Real Estate Preferred Properties St Louis’ Kim Cameron Group.

She emphasizes how smart home features are becoming increasingly mainstream among homebuilders and rehabbers. Smart homes have now become a mainstream feature.

Temperature and light controls can now be integrated with smartphones for easy control, blinds can be automated, security systems have become easier and less expensive, and everything can be done at the touch of a button.”

She organizes her course into bite-sized chunks so any practitioner can understand and comprehend it easily.

“For over a decade, many homes have included Nest camera doorbells; but we never had the conversation at listing meetings about making their homes smart.” Furthermore, only certain MLSs provide an option to mark homes as such.

According to this course, a smart home is defined as a residence equipped with network-connected products connected through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols that automate several home functions such as lighting, security and temperature regulation – typically through apps or computers – such as lighting controls or thermostatic temperature management devices and provide customized user controls over them. To be considered truly smart homes on the market, homes must possess both internet access as well as at least two additional smart features such as security or temperature controls as well.

How the Certification Benefits Your Business
Cameron believes that including “Smart Home” on real estate signs, social media pages and websites attracts additional attention for agents. People interested in technology or environmental concerns will gravitate toward someone with certification – even general curiosity might play a part. Whatever it may be, agents must make sure potential customers fully comprehend its significance, according to Cameron.

She provides her students with a script on how to approach potential clients about smart homes, conveying information confidently. Confidence and knowledge are crucial, she states.

Certifying real estate professionals as experts in their chosen niche sets them apart. Earners of this certification can leverage pre-made toolkits available to them to promote themselves more efficiently, and earning one earns them credit towards becoming Certified Residential Specialists (CRSs).

Help Your Home Be Smart By Cameron; Cameron believes the process for identifying a smart home begins in its driveway.

“Upon seeing a camera doorbell, you immediately inform clients that you noticed they have a NEST doorbell,” she explains. “You explain to them that having such technology in their home could create an advantage when selling their home.”

Hall notes that as home size increases, so too do automation options.

“When discussing smart home technologies, I don’t focus on money savings alone,” she notes. “Rather, I focus on their overall benefits.” Although investing in smart home technology does cost money, some may misperceive it as being cost prohibitive.

Hall believes in speaking to clients about smart home features that fit their individual needs and preferences. Blinds might seem expensive at first, but if a client desires them there may be ways to lower the expense.

“We don’t advise installing smart home devices in every window,” Hall states. “I like to discuss with them how long they plan to live there before providing advice. Most people want a smart home but may not recognize its name.”

Real estate professionals certified as smart home experts understand all of what makes a house smart, making this knowledge invaluable when providing advice to their clients. Technologies like appliances, entertainment systems and automated vacuum cleaners might not even cross their minds as potential solutions!

“Your client could come to you for help in any number of scenarios,” she argues.

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