Today’s ‘Smart’ Home Makes Decisions for us

We all know what it means to look after a home. Whether it’s vacuuming regularly or applying a much-needed coat of paint, such care is an essential part of home ownership.

But what if your home could actually help care for you?

That’s the driving concept behind the current research into the creation of a truly “smart” home. The idea is not simply a home that responds to preset commands to turn on or off lights or appliances, but one that can calculate such needs on its own and respond to them appropriately.

For example, by monitoring your sleep patterns, your home will turn down the thermostat after you’re in bed to save energy. Or perhaps it will recognize that the oven has been left on and shut it off automatically.

It works through discrete, wireless sensors located in every room that gather information on our habits and patterns and then forward it to a sophisticated computer program. The computer soon is able to anticipate our movements, detect potential aberrations and respond accordingly. The longer we live with these sensors, the more they are able to make decisions on our behalf.

Far-fetched? Apparently not. Researchers from Washington State University wrote in a recent issue of the journal, Science, that home innovations like these are already under development. According to the article, we’re heading for a brave new world where we will be able to rely on our “smart” home to care for us.

It gives new meaning to “home sweet home”, doesn’t it?

Pricing Your Home Is Both a Science and an Art

ou know your home is one of a kind. Soon buyers will know too; you’ve just made the decision to list. The question now is: How do you price that unique property?

Here’s where your real estate agent shines. Pricing is an exact science, but strategic pricing is an art. That’s why you should entrust this function to someone who will accurately price your home, whether it’s a buyer’s or a seller’s market.

A good agent knows that pricing strategies depend on many factors; what works for one home may not work for another.

In a seller’s market, your agent might recommend pricing to encourage multiple offers. However, this will depend on the neighborhood and on the home’s value. The best candidate for this strategy is a well-maintained home in a desirable area where inventory is low. In this situation, the listing price will likely be at the lower end of a price range that reflects the home’s fair market value to encourage competing offers.

In a buyer’s market, the factors influencing price are the same – the neighborhood and the value of the home – but the strategy is very different. Here it’s all about demand and competition. Your home is in direct competition with others for sale in your neighborhood, and it should be priced to compare favorably. It also should be in top condition, and your agent may recommend fix-ups and staging to highlight its attributes.

Your agent will also look for trends. If properties in your area consistently sell below asking price, prepare for offers below the listing price and expect to have to adjust, particularly if you’re in a hurry to sell.

Whatever the market, a well-thought-out pricing strategy can make the difference between selling quickly at a fair price and sitting on the market with an overpriced property.

It’s worth getting it right the first time.