If you are in the business of building homes or managing properties, it’s important to find ways to distinguish your houses from your competitors. Homebuilders have many choices and factors to consider, and should always keep their consumer and their home buying wish list top of mind. Check out these 5 new home features to help make your property appeal to homeowners and stand out from the rest.
1. App-Driven Smart Home Features
Smart home features used to be considered luxurious benefits, however, with improved integration of technology and affordability, smart home features are now one of the most sought-after amenities on homebuyers’ radars. The young and old homebuyer alike is sure to appreciate the convenience of the following devices, those of which sync with phone applications to grant the user control over their home whether they are in bed or across the county.
This “remoting in” is only possible if the internet is present.
A smart thermostat has several advantages. The user interface makes climate control easier to understand than the vague numbers and hieroglyphs of traditional thermostats. Not only can the home’s temperature be conveniently controlled through its phone app or voice commands, it can also learn the homeowner’s temperature preferences for days of the week and certain times. It can then automatically adjust the temperature accordingly so that there’s never an uncomfortable “climate.”
Smart thermostats can also drastically reduce the homeowner’s heating and cooling bills by cutting back on energy expenditures when it senses no one is home. This makes the investment one that will pay for itself in a matter of months.
Video doorbells allow homeowners to check who is at the door without moving an inch. When someone rings a video doorbell, a one-way video stream is sent to the homeowner’s phone and a two-way audio connection can be made if the homeowner wishes to communicate with the person outside. In addition to ring alerts, motion sensors can alert homeowners if activity is detected near the door.
Homeowners love video doorbells not just for convenience, but also for the added security. Many burglars start their intrusion by ringing the doorbell to see if anyone is home. However, smart doorbells keep homes safe by creating the illusion that someone is always home since the door can be “answered” from anywhere. And best of all, by implementing safety features such as this into one home, you are helping to create a safer neighborhood community for everyone else.
Implementing smart light fixtures and systems is one of the quickest ways to spruce up a property. In many homes, lighting was one of the first features to get the smart-upgrade. It started with the ability to turn lights off and on via a phone app but has evolved to provide even more sophisticated control. Elements such as light intensity, temperature, and color can be adjusted via app or home assistant voice commands. There are even smart light bulbs with built in speakers to illuminate and resonate a room all at once.
Smart locks allow door access to be controlled via phone apps, web apps, or home assistant devices. The benefits of this type of device include:
- Simplifies life—Homeowners won’t need to fumble with bulky keychains since the key to smart locks is their phone. Locking and unlocking can also be achieved by voice command when their hands are full.
- Offer flexibility—If family, friends, or home maintenance need access to the house when the homeowner isn’t there, the smart lock can be programmed to open for them on specific days and times. This feature is extremely useful for real estate agents that are showing houses on the market.
- Automatic locking—Smart locks can be programmed to automatically engage the lock if it has been unlocked for too long. A geofence can also be set up so that the smart lock knows when the homeowner and their phone have left the area. This will also automatically engage the lock meaning homeowners never have to worry about remembering to lock the door again.
- Increased security—Smart locks will alert homeowners in real-time of who enters and leaves the house, as well as sound an alarm if the lock is tampered with.
2. Package Lockers
Package lockers are one of the most innovative home features that will be discussed in this article. These types of lockers ensure safe package delivery and as of lately, have become increasingly popular due to the rise of ecommerce. Single-Family Package lockers are a nice value add for your home and show potential homebuyers you are adapting your homes to changing industry landscapes.
What is a Package Locker Exactly?
Package lockers like those offered by Parcel Pending are smart electronic lockers that securely hold packages until their owners are ready to pick them up. Centrally-located locker stations have been installed at apartment communities, offices, and retail locations to manage large volumes of online deliveries, and they have been very effective in doing so. When the courier deposits a package into the locker, the recipient receives a unique code via text, email, or app notification which gives them access to retrieve their package whenever is most convenient.
Parcel Pending’s newest smart home locker, the Parcel Automation Security System (PASS) takes convenience to an even higher level. Rather than packages being delivered to the doorstep, where they risk theft, the package locker is situated right outside the homeowners’ doors. The homeowner will still be notified that their package has arrived at home via text or email, and additionally, their Amazon Echo or Google Home can inform them.
Homeowners will love a house with Smart Home Lockers for the following reasons:
- Enhanced convenience— Gone are the days when you are stuck at home waiting for a package to arrive, or if you miss the delivery, are required to schlep to the post office to pick it up during their limited hours. Parcel lock boxes make it possible to receive deliveries at home 24/7, without even opening the front door.
- Improved security— The rise in online shopping has also caused porch piracy rates to soar. Reports estimate that each year 30 million packages are stolen off doorsteps. 30% of Americans have been victim to this, and unfortunately, that number is predicted to increase every year.
Fortunately, Smart Home Lockers protect packages from prowling thieves. In addition to securely holding packages, they also have built-in cloud-based video surveillance to record any suspicious activity.
- Highly reliable— The lockers are weatherproof, ensuring packages reach homeowners’ hands in the best possible condition. If couriers or homeowners have any questions concerning the Smart Home Locker, they can reach live 24/7 customer service for fast and friendly help.
- Visually appealing—The sleek design can be customized to complement any house exterior. They can add aesthetic value to the property.
3. Heated Driveways
If your properties are situated in a location with extremely cold winters, potential buyers will be grateful to find homes with heated driveways. Frozen driveways present huge problems; they are dangerous slipping hazards and they trap homeowners’ cars, preventing travel to work and school. Shoveling snow is tedious, increases the risk of slipping, and is useless if there is a slick sheet of ice covering the ground. Salt and snow-removal chemicals are slow-acting and harmful to the environment.
Therefore, heated driveways are a much better solution.
Heated driveways work by radiating heat beneath the pavement via electric mats or pipes carrying hot water. The system can be programmed to turn on following a schedule like sprinkler systems, or sensors can be included which automatically turn the system on when freezing conditions arise.
4. Hidden Amenities
There’s something about discovering not-so-obvious perks in a house that sparks joy and excitement. It’s like finding forgotten money in your back pocket. Homebuyers may not need these features, but they will most likely remember your property for its unique qualities. While these ideas aren’t new in a modern technology sense, they are novel in a creative out-of-the-box way. Consider these cool things to include when building a home:
At first, a secret room sounds like a complicated architectural feat, but it’s achieved easily by concealing a door. Even existing homes can build this in. The go-to disguise for doors are shelves but they can also be hidden by full-length mirrors or inconspicuous wall panels. Behind the covert door is up to the homeowner but some fun ideas are a reading nook, a movie theater, or a speakeasy-style bar.
Hampers take up precious living space and they are not very visually appealing. Not to mention, they are a hassle to lug to the laundry room, especially when laundry day is long overdue. Laundry chutes are both space and time savers. They make one of the most unpopular chores a little more manageable.
Central Vacuum System
Speaking of chores, after laundry on the list of “things people wish they could put off for another day,” comes vacuuming. However, a central vacuum system makes this task painless.
Central vacuum cleaners consist of long tubing and exchangeable accessories to make maneuvering through the home’s nook and crannies a breeze. Some systems include floor inlets that act like automatic dustpans by sucking up piles of swept dust. All debris is sent to a tightly sealed collection container in a remote part of the house like a basement or garage. This flooring system keeps allergens out of homes much more effectively than normal vacuums.
5. Environmentally-Friendly Features
Surveys of homebuyers consistently report that energy efficient features are highly desired. This makes sense as environmental consciousness is on the rise and saving energy also means saving money. The following features are a win-win for the environment and the value of your properties.
The sun is a powerful source of free, clean energy. If your properties are in an area where the sun’s rays beat ceaselessly it would be advantageous to invest in solar panels. They are easy to install and are estimated to shave off $100 from monthly energy and utility bills. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar panels were bought off the market 20% quicker and for 17% more money than comparable homes without solar panels.
Energy Star-rated Appliances and Windows
An energy star-rated appliance is one that meets the strict energy efficiency criteria established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Examples of these appliances include:
- Refrigerators that are at least 15% more efficient than the minimum required by federal law
- Appliances that automatically switch to low-power mode after prolonged inactivity
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs that use 2/3 the energy of a standard incandescent bulb
- Dishwashers and laundry machines that monitor soil levels and adapt their water usage accordingly
- Dryers that sense when clothes are dry and shut off automatically
Windows can also be energy-star rated. Windows are designed to either keep warmth in or keep homes cool. It’s important to make sure your properties are outfitted with energy-efficient windows that make sense for the climate they’re in. Homes should also have quality window frames to reduce heat transfer and provide better insulation. These things together ensure that less energy is spent on heating or cooling a home.
Gardens are not a new feature for homes, however, the ways in which they are integrated into homes are evolving. Traditionally, gardens referred to plants outside, but newer homes are designing spaces to accommodate indoor gardens. They are excellent aesthetically, produce fresh oxygen, and create a relaxing ambiance.
Whether it’s the kitchen, bathrooms, living room or bedrooms, greenery is finding its way into a parade of homes. Here are a few ways you can design a space that supports the cultivation of indoor gardens:
- In the kitchen, build deep-set windows so that herb gardens have a place to rest
- In the bathroom, include ample open shelving so that tropical plants that thrive in low-light humid conditions have a place to live
- Form a stunning live mural by installing vertical garden planters
Homebuyers are drawn to bold and interesting features. The idea of being one of the first users to integrate a Smart Home Locker system or being able to access most of your amenities from your phone is appealing. Heated driveways, hidden house tricks, and environmentally conscious features are also great features to draw in buyers.
The perk about these innovative ideas is that they aren’t hard to implement into existing homes, and for the value they add to a property, the initial investment is relatively low. These new home features could be the cherry on top that pushes your properties into the spotlight… then keeps them there until they’re sold.
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