By Eric Murrell
Flipping an older home may be one of the best financial decisions an entrepreneur can make. Take a little bit of vision, combine it with a lot of sweat equity, and you have everything you need to turn a once-forgotten property into a modern home with massive potential for profit.
Any flipper will tell you that it's the upgrades that can make all the difference. Trading linoleum for tile can make an outdated bathroom chic again. Painting cabinets and adding a backsplash can make a run-down kitchen feel like a chef's dream. Even investing thousands of dollars to replace outdated appliances can be a worthwhile investment, making a house with old bones able to compete with the new-construction property just down the road.
What you might not know is that adding the right smart home technology to your next flip can make a massive difference in the perception of modern homebuyers. The best part is that these upgrades are both inexpensive and easy to pull off, giving you a great new way to upgrade your properties and fatten your wallet at the same time. Here are three upgrades to consider:
Smart Thermostats Make a Big Difference
You might not think that a thermostat would be a big deal in the mind of a potential buyer, but the thermostat on the wall actually says a lot about the property. Whereas an outdated thermostat can be an eyesore and a reminder of a home's old age, investing in a smart thermostat can give you a leg up in marketing your property in several compelling ways.
A smart thermostat tells potential buyers that the HVAC system is up to modern standards and has been evaluated as part of a renovation. They can also provide a wealth of energy-saving features that can save buyers money on electric bills. Plus, the fact that homeowners can easily manage and control the system on their smartphone is an attractive feature. Environmentally-conscious buyers will be impressed by the smart thermostat as it helps with the efficiency of the HVAC, and tech-savvy families will be drawn to the features of a smarter home environment.
Possibly the most important reason to add smart thermostats to your flip is the perception of seeing a high-tech appliance prominently displayed on the wall. It lets potential buyers know that this older home has learned some new tricks, and that their potential new living space isn't limited to technology from decades past.
Smart Lighting Changes the Feel of a Space
Another key upgrade to consider is perhaps one of the easiest ones to make: the installation of a few smart bulbs or a smart lighting system. Lighting can completely change the feel of a room, and today's smart lighting systems offer a nearly limitless array of colors, dimness settings and light fixtures. Whether you use it to add dimmable lighting to a family room or fun colorful accents to a kid-friendly space, smart lighting is one of the best tools at your disposal for creatively staging your next flip.
Better still, most smart lighting systems offer programmable light settings that will allow you to change lighting scenes on the fly, have light constantly shifting during a showing or even have lights automatically turn on at night for the perfect dash of curb appeal. It's a bright idea that makes a big impact.
Security Systems Provide a Sense of Safety
Modern homebuyers are concerned about security, so adding a smart security system to your property is another great upgrade that will cater directly to your buyers' needs.
Many security systems of the past required yearly contracts and extensive wiring, so some homeowners and flippers have overlooked this investment, thinking it would require intrusive installation and a high financial commitment. Thankfully, today's WiFi smart cameras and battery-powered security products are both surprisingly affordable and extremely easy to install.
Add a camera or two around your flip and set up a few motion sensors in key areas around the property, and you can demonstrate cool features to potential buyers. Show them the ease with which you can see who is at your front door or how you can be alerted on your phone when motion is detected by the bedroom window.
It doesn't take much to convert an older home into a cutting-edge home of the future. Smart upgrades like thermostats, lighting systems and security cameras may seem like a small investment, but they can make a massive impact on the decision-making of potential buyers. The best part is, they can all easily work together via a smart home hub, which may be set up by your local internet company. When you're planning the budget for your next flip, make sure to leave room for a few simple smart home upgrades.
Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to Xfinity Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.