My wife and I bought our current house in June, and did some pretty major remodeling. The entire top floor was leveled down to the exterior studs, and there were many interior walls and ceilings on the main floor and the basement that were both open to some degree.
At that time, home automation was not on my radar, but whole home audio was. I started by putting in-ceiling speakers in many rooms throughout the house, and pulling a ton of wire to the basement, where the receivers would be going.
Shortly after moving in, I realized my WiFi gear from the previous house was woefully not up to the task (last house was a 2400sf ranch, current house is a 4000sf colonial). A Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro and 4 wifi 6 APs filled out the connectivity quite nicely.
After living in the house for a few months, it began becoming readily apparent that the location of some of the lightswitches (not to mention the appearance and even “do these work?”) and the wall outlets meant that they were ALL in need of replacement. Every last one of them. Over 100 lightswitches, and over 150 duplex receptacles.
Two coworkers were both “HA nerds”, as I called them, and were constantly bombarding me with whatever their most recent thing was.
In late October, I ordered an HA blue and a handful of lightswitches, just to see. Then came the task of rewiring some of the circuits (where possible) because there were no neutrals. Some I was able to do, some I was not (because doing them to code would involve ancillary efforts I was not willing to invest, and/or because I didn’t have the required equipment), so I’m still waiting for an electrician to make those changes for me.
I implemented those lightswitches, and I also figured out how to add the stereo receivers to HA since they were both WiFi (we had been previously controlling them using the manufacturer’s app on our phones).
Now, it’s mid-January, and I have over 50 smart lightswitches, the garage door opener is attached to HA, both stereo receivers, a plex server, a dedicated wall-mount management interface running on a tablet, some motion sensors, a couple smart lightbulbs, some smart outlets, and some door open/close sensors.
How is any of this relevant to your question?
We bought this place a pretty good bit below market value, because it needed a LOT of work. The previous owners had done nothing more than live in it (for 20 years!) - literally every single light fixture in the house that had more than one bulb in it - only 1 bulb worked. Dining room chandelier with 8 bulbs? Yep, 7 were burned out. Bedroom fixtures/ceiling fans with 2-5 bulbs? Yep, only 1 bulb worked in each. Same for the exterior lights, and the track lights in the sunroom, and on and on. Point is, they didn’t maintain the place - but where other potential buyers saw “Ugh, work!”, we saw the potential to grow equity - a lot of it, and quickly.
I didn’t go into the smart home thing for the ROI, or the increase in resale value, or anything of the sort. I did it because I’m a nerd, and it sounded interesting - and more importantly, it sounded economical. I mean, I already had to replace lightswitches anyway, so why not? The cost of the smart switches I used, on average, was $10 each more than the cost of the regular switches I used for the places I couldn’t put a smart one or didn’t need a smart switch (like the dumb end of a 3-way circuit, for example). All told, not including the home audio stuff or the Ubiquiti stuff, I probably have somewhere around $1000 into my HA setup at this point. So even if it’s not worth a thing, I don’t really care. We plan to live here for the next 5-6 years, then sell and buy our dream house in our dream location.
BUT - somewhere along the way, I read an article about the home market that was written by a realtor, and it said that “millenials, in particular, are very interested in home efficiency (re: reducing energy costs, like expensive windows, good insulation, etc), and smart home features.” In fact, this particular realtor said that before she would list a house, if the house didn’t have a smart thermostat, she would BUY ONE and have it installed, out of pocket - because smart thermostats gave the appearance of a smart, energy-efficient home. Now… Is that shady? Perhaps. I don’t know, that’s not what I’m here to discuss. The point I’m making (albeit somewhat long-windedly) is that got me to thinking "what is the value of a “smart home”, or “home automations”?
I started Googling. The answer to this question varies wildly. It depends on the age of the article you read, it depends on the part of the country (or the world) you live in, it depends on the neighborhood you live in, and it depends on what the houses in that neighborhood have.
So… If you are the ONLY house on the block that has a smart home, you have an advantage. If every house on the block BUT yours has smart-home tech? You’re at a disadvantage. You have to consider the neighbors and neighborhood, as real estate is very much a game of “keeping up with the Jonses” (or ideally, keeping ahead of them!). An extreme example: If you live in a trailer park, installing a $30k home theater isn’t going to make your trailer worth double the original value, but putting that same $30k home theater into a $500,000 house might make it worth $515,000.
Since we’re talking about the value of HAVING this stuff, we’ll focus on the first part of that, the part where you have the advantage. How big IS that advantage, really?
According to everything I’ve found online, the worst case scenario is that it doesn’t directly add any value, but it makes your house easier to sell, which means in a softer market (not today’s market, obviously), it will sell faster - and faster is better. Nobody wants to be stuck in limbo, waiting while their listing languishes on realtor.com for 6 months or more. Consider: A buyer has narrowed their selection to two houses in your neighborhood. Yours has smart home tech, the other does not.
So, that’s worst-case. What’s the best case scenario? Again, depending on articles, the absolute BEST case that I’ve seen claimed as much as a 35% increase in value. NOW - to be fair - not all of that is DIRECTLY a result of the “smart home tech” - but rather, it’s the fact that some of that tech is the high-end appliances you installed in the kitchen that just happen to have WiFi and HA integrations. You know the ones, that entire suite of wall ovens, fridge, freezer, rangetop, and dishwasher… That set that cost you $28,000. So… Yeah, a big part of that 35% is going to come from the value of the appliance itself, rather than being a DIRECT result of the fact that now they are “smart” - but how we got there isn’t necessarily the important part, just that we did, right? ROI is about the destination, not the journey since the buyers are the ones who dictate ROI and they are buying the house, not the story of how it came to be in the configuration it is when they but it.
Real world? I’ll let you know. My house remains a work in progress, and I’ve been getting it appraised at fairly regular intervals to gauge our progress as projects are completed, and also to pick the appraisers brain about which projects we should do next, and what he thinks the place might be worth after the next project. It’s AMAZING the information you can get from a professional appraiser when you’re just paying him directly, and there’s no bank involved. (when there’s a bank involved, even talking to the appraisers is a challenge, since you cannot be seen as trying to influence the appraisers opinions). But, my last appraisal was JUST before I began this smart home stuff, and I’ll be getting another one within the next 30-45 days. My smart home stuff won’t be completed by then (still need doorbells and cameras), but it is still a significant enough part of the house now - and especially with the control panel prominently displayed right next to the thermostat, it’s difficult to miss, that the next appraisal will certainly notice it and take it into consideration.
For a “fully functional, complete home-automation system”, the running average I’ve seen across everything I’ve read seems to be somewhere in the 11-15% increase in home value. Time will tell, I suppose - but I’m sure a LOT of that value has to do with how nice you can make your dashboards look.