We're thinking about putting our house on the market. I'm trying to think through what smart home items should stay with the house and what I should take with me. Keep in mind, this is the "Debate Chamber", my thoughts are below, but I want to hear counter-arguments!
High level thoughts (some conflicting):
- What would a buyer expect to remain with the house?
- Would a buyer value the home automation I've done?
- Not knowing what our next house will have, will bringing things with me even be valuable?
- In a new house (either new or new-to-me), I may want to do things different (example: I've been kicking around the ideas of picking up some Lutron Caseta switches)
- Taking my stuff with me saves me money (please don't tell my wife how much I've spent on home automation over the years)
- Hubitat hub - this really depends on what else is staying. Relatively cheap and easy to replace (not to mention, I have an older hub w/dongle).
- Things that aren't specifically dedicated to home automation and aren't attached to the house are going with me (e.g.; Google Home, Amazon Echo, Sonos)
- Door/Window + Motion sensors - Mine are all stick-on/screw-on. These are the key triggers in most of my automations. If anything stays, these need to stay.
- Deadbolt - Too much variability in door hardware. This was purchased for the door I have (hole pattern, handle, color, etc.), it stays.
- Light Switches - All hard-wired GE z-wave switches. "Hard wired" lends itself to stay with the house (but I still have all the old dumb switches). Also, what about color? And, as already stated, I've been considering starting down the Lutron path anyhow. Probably should stay.
- Plug-in wall outlet - Very easily re-usable, just plugs into existing outlets... they're coming with me.
- Sprinkler controller - Yes, I still have the old dumb controller, but there are newer models out and I don't even know if I'll have or need a sprinkler system in the next house. Probably should stay.
- External cameras - I have 4 x external PoE cameras. I'd probably just re-install the NVR that came with the kit and leave them. Removing them and repairing installation holes create more projects... I already have enough of those in prepping the house.
- Doorbell - I switched to Nest this year, but kept my old Ring (v2). I'll re-install the Ring and take the Nest with me.
I'd love to hear your thoughts either aligned or counter (and why).
I’d MAYBE consider keeping the cameras, as they’re a bit more ubiquitous. For everything else, even though it’s a pain, I’d expect most people to not really care about automation or the smart home gear. But, with the right buyer, you might be able to strike a deal and get them to buy the gear with the house.
As a buyer, I’d probably have an expectation that the house would come with standard switches and outlets. Our home inspector was really tough on electrical, so that may be something to consider as well.
I wouldn’t doubt it that you also would probably be able to fetch a better price online than you would be able to negotiate in your closing. Might depend on where you live, though. In North Dakota, there aren’t many people into home automation.
I’ve always felt that half the fun of automation is getting to choose your own setup and devices, but that’s just my food for thought
We are packing up to move too. I took everything out: switches, outlets, sensors, cameras, smart thermostat and sprinkler. The only thing staying is the smart lock, the painter painted around it at the door so my wife said to leave it.
Did you remove stuff before showing?
Yep. Our Realtor said if it’s attached to the house it stays, unless you put in an exclusion or clause in the contract. I think that unlike your paintings and decorations, that stuff is expected to stay. Kind of like a security system.
Until the market has a more universal way of home automation. I would look at having home automation in a house that you are buying as a negative, similar to those who have no interest in swimming pool maintenance/safety risks look at houses with a pool.
Those who actually know how to operate the automation, more than likely have their own brand/devices/etc already existing they are bringing with them thereby highly unlikely the existing provides value to them.
And those who don't know how to operate the home automation would likely look as it as an unnecessary expense.
I would agree with the above comments. I would remove everything and bring the house back to "stock." Most people have no clue how a smarthome really works. Your goal is to sell the home and not have to be support for the new homeowners. That is my biggest fear is that I "could" get sued or have to support the new homeowner because the house isn't stock. BTW I live in IL where there is a 1:2 ratio of attorneys to people. Very happy suing state.
I really appreciate all of the feedback... even though it really means you guys are adding projects for me!
I would say leave the switches and hard wired items. Reset them to default and they will operate just like any dumb switch. The new owner can decide if they want to then get a controller to add them to or not. Either way you don't have to pull/replace them, they work just like dumb switches and you get to play with something new at the new house.
My thoughts exactly. One of my cardinal rules it that all switches and dimmers need to operate without a hub. So no disconnected load smart switches that trigger automations that won't work without a hub, no bypassed switches so smart bulbs are always powered on. Actually, no smart bulbs at all--EVER
Ripping everything out and restoring it to stock is easy enough unless you have 4/5/N way switch circuits. I've got plenty of them and I'm not sure I'd be eager to swap them all back.
If it looks like a light switch or dimmer and operates without a hub, I'd leave it.
Sold a smart home two years ago. Realtor told us to take it all with us unless the buyer wanted it included. Because a house has to have switches (smart or not) etc. It won't add to the value of your home, so it's a moot point to leave it. More often than not, the potential buyer won't do anything with it because they don't know WHAT to do with it. So unless you leave everything, set it up and support it, take it with. It's the best thing you could do for yourself. Then boast that it's wired for security and leave a little map of wiring for them. All said and done, we got one question from the buyers. "Is this wired for surround sound?". Really?
Personally I'd investigate the Exclusion Clause and use it to "Sell a Smart Home" -- make it part of the negotiation. However, I think the most likely outcome is the buyer will say "remove it" - but then you get between that day and close of escrow to remove according to your list.
I actually prefer the original C3/C4 hubs versus the newer C5 hub. At least the network connection doesn't have issues with autonegotiation! Also, I like the fact that the USB Zigbee/Z-Wave radios can be moved to another hub. Makes for an easier recovery process.
Take it all.
I took my cameras, and the thermostat, along with everything else I wanted to keep. My old house in that particular neighborhood wasn't going to sell for more with smart stuff let alone expensive appliances, drapes, light fixtures, or other stuff I spent a lot of money on. I had the advantage of having both houses for a period of time, so I took the cheap stuff from the new house and put it into the old house before listing.
I don't regret it, and I got the listing price. Just don't try to do this after you sign the paperwork. It would even be worth replacing the light switches even if you had to spend $1 each on new ones.
Watching this topic with interest - we're in Permit World (not quite Permit Hell, but we can see it from here) to build a new house, and I'd just starting thinking about this issue for the current house (not only Hubitat, but Radio Ra2).
When the house is shown to prospective buyers, do not say things like:
- The lights turn on and off according to a schedule.
- A home automation system monitors doors, windows, water leak sensors, etc and sends a notification if something is wrong.
- Other descriptions of home automation functionality and performance along those lines.
If you do, they will be considered integral to the home's sale (a deliverable) and will be expected to perform, as described, for the new owners. Unless you are prepared to do the work necessary to make everything function correctly for the new owners (transferring accounts, changing presence detectors, etc) then refrain from describing what the home automation does. You can say that all equipment related to home automation, that is attached to the house, will be left in place with no programming or promise of performance (i.e. 'as-is').
If you've installed any equipment that is not certified by UL or ETL (or other recognized standards body), an eagle-eyed home inspector might raise a red flag. You can roll the dice and hope they don't notice or be proactive and replace those uncertified smart switches with regular non-smart ones.