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Ask McEnearney: What smart tech are buyers looking for in their next home?

This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What smart tech are buyers looking for in their next home?

Answer: The 2024 spring housing market has already taken off, with declining interest rates bringing many homebuyers off the sidelines and into the purchasing game. Sellers are preparing their homes for eager buyers and are learning what features will attract the most offers at the highest price. And while fresh paint and gleaming floors will always be pleasing to see in a home, there’s one thing that savvy buyers are asking for more than anything else: convenient, integrated, and affordable Smart Tech throughout the home.

We polled our McEnearney colleagues to find out what the easiest and most popular features are that are mentioned by their clients to make life easier, energy efficient, and, in some cases, fun!

Tom Hallex, a key member of McEnearney’s Digital Resources team, has incorporated many of the most common and inexpensive gadgets in his own home, including a Nest doorbell and door lock which allows for remote access to view visitors to your property and access into your home; a myQ garage-door opener that allows for individualized PIN code access and visual access to confirm activity around the garage entry; smart-outlets like Enbrighten that work with a home’s wi-fi for remote on/off control and customizable adjustments with voice or app commands; and even a wi-fi linked microwave for under $200!

Realtor Sean McEnearney is also a fan of smart-USBs after working with a tech-savvy seller client. “I was selling a townhome for a client a few years ago and there was a lot of work that needed to be done before we put it on the market, especially in the kitchen and master bath,” Sean recounts. “He replaced a few outlets and had the electrician install outlets that included USB receptacles as well as the typical electric outlets. He had them installed in the master bedroom and bath as well. It was a small thing, but a thoughtful add-on that impressed me.”

Rookie Realtor Rachel O has been learning what’s on the Tech Must-Have list for buyers, including her own husband who wanted at minimum a smart thermostat and the aforementioned USB plugs incorporated into the outlets. But it’s understanding what younger buyers, who have grown up with accessibility at their fingertips, want in a home that keeps her alert to tech trends and what makes for a quick sale.

“I’ve seen a lot of new construction homes that have (common tech gadgets) included and my newlywed first-time homebuyers in their early 30s do seem to have an expectation and preference for these inclusions. I believe if an older home had them, they would likely be more inclined to purchase,” O shared. “The best thing I’ve seen thus far is a smart oven that allows you to preheat your oven from your cell phone so that you can start it on your way home from work and then immediately pop in your food to be cooked.”

Moving up the chain to affordable luxury, Top Producer Realtor Susan Tull O’Reilly cited a recent sale that had a built-in wine cooler with select zones for different types of wines, even in a small space: colder on the bottom and less chilled on top. A quick search shows that there are intricate builds for the expert sommelier but even vino neophytes can find tech-enabled options that offer climate-centric options in a small package, ranging from the $200 range to up and above $4,000.

In a sign of must-haves to come, Realtor Christine Robinson is seeing more and more homeowners investing in tech like electric vehicle (EV) chargers — popular in both sales and rentals – that range in price from $300-700. Search recent home listing descriptions and you’re likely to see this feature spotlighted as a selling point and some sellers are willing to add them for on-the-fence buyers. She’s seen clients who both want and loathe solar panels but the trend toward sustainable construction means solar technology will continue to be a factor in home improvements.

One of the tech features mentioned most often by our agents were home generators, both portable generators that sell for an affordable $300 and up, and standby generators which are professionally installed and cost between $5,000-$7,000. Later this month we’ll look at tech features in high-end homes that are most popular with luxury buyers. Be ready to be dazzled! In the meantime, if you would like a tech-savvy agent to assist you with insight into what appeals to buyers and sellers in this busy market, reach out to a McEnearney Associate to get the right home ecosystem for your needs.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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