Does Home Automation Increase the Value of your Home

Q. Can home automation systems increase the appeal of my home? If so, which features are most desirable?

A. Home automation systems that allow an owner to control lighting and shading, heating and cooling, music and video, security cameras and other functions can definitely increase the appeal of a home, said Zachary Vichinsky, a real estate sales agent with the Corcoran Group in the Hamptons.

“The last home I sold, the purchaser came out and told me that his decision to purchase the property was based largely on the technology that was incorporated into the home,” Mr. Vichinsky said, noting that the house had a fully integrated Crestron home automation system. “As a second home, it was very appealing to the purchasers to be able to be coming down the highway and turn the air-conditioning and lights on in their home, or raise the temperature of the pool.”

Mr. Vichinsky said he has seen home automation systems built into houses that are selling at a wide range of price points, starting at about $1 million. “These types of features demand a price premium,” he said. “It also distinguishes a seller’s home from the competition.”

Matthew Berman, one of the principals of the New York design firm Workshop/apd, has designed and renovated a number of high-end homes in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, including many with home automation systems.

He recommended having separate control systems for individual functions like lighting, heating and music.

Workshop/apd used to specify home automation systems with full integration, where all the functions could be controlled by a single touch pad.

But the systems “were always breaking down,” Mr. Berman said, and clients would have to call in an expert for service each time. “The second biggest complaint people had was that you always had to instruct your guests on how to use your home,” he said. “You had to leave them a tutorial on how to turn the lights on or adjust the temperature.”

One of the most desirable systems, Mr. Berman said, is a “whole-home lighting system,” like the Lutron RadioRA 2, which can wirelessly control multiple light fixtures and window shades.

A popular feature of this kind of system is “the ability to hit one button when you’re leaving your house to turn off all the lights,” he said.

Internet-connected thermostats that can be remotely controlled from a computer or smartphone also have wide appeal. Many companies make these systems, including 3M, Honeywell and Nest. “Especially for second homes,” he said, “to be able to heat or cool the house before you get there is great.”

For music, Mr. Berman recommended a simple stand-alone wireless system like Sonos, which is relatively affordable (the system starts at about $300) and allows music to be streamed into any room of the house.

“People love it because it’s very simple to install,” he said, “and connects to iTunes and Pandora.”
New York Times