We may be getting older, but we’re not stupid

Castles in the Sand

Did you know that every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65? Just to refresh your aging memories, baby boomers are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, therefore, baby boomers will be impacting our society for a lot longer. So, what do the smart real estate professionals do? They market smart houses and aging in place.

This is becoming such a hot topic that the continuing education course required of real estate licensees every two years contains two entire modules on smart homes and senior living. These are some of the more important points covered and tested in the most recent course.

A smart home is one that provides comfort, security, energy efficiency and convenience. These are all features that not only help seniors but also can improve property values especially for homeowners and prospective homeowners who are baby boomers.

When you’re talking cost to value in real estate, it’s always a balance between what it costs to make an improvement versus what the return will be. Well, based on a Coldwell Banker survey, 54 percent of homeowners said they would add smart home products if it made a house sell for more money. Sixty-five percent of those would pay $1,500 or more to add smart home features, and 40 percent would pay up to $3,000 or more.

In addition, Market Watch reports that the number of smart homes in North America is expected to hit 73 million by 2021 or more than 50 percent of all households. Unfortunately, real estate appraisers are just starting to give value to smart homes.

Smart homes are starting to have a very big impact on baby boomers who apparently prefer the phrase thriving in place as opposed to aging in place. Sixty-one percent of those over 55 are planning to stay in their homes indefinitely and 67 percent of those over 55 believe smart home technology could help them. Whether you’re thriving or aging, there are things that can help you live independently and safely.

Certainly, the most important smart features for seniors is health monitoring devices. There are many devices designed to monitor blood pressure and other vital signs that send alerts to a family member, physician or health care professional. There is a device to alert family members if a senior is not in his/her home or within a specific range and medicine containers that beep if the medicine is not taken. And one very practical device will automatically turn a stove off if it is left unattended for a predetermined length of time.

Next, are all of the convenience and security smart innovations – smart locks to avoid being locked out, smart home security monitors when not at home, smart sensors to track movements within the home and smart devices to let you and a family member know when a door or window is unlocked.

There is smart lighting that can be voice activated, smart thermostats and smart appliances which can create shopping lists and even give you the ability to look inside the refrigerator, monitor oven temperatures and activate your robotic vacuum cleaner.

Lest we forget the all-important remote shopping, ordering anything online, whether it’s clothes, books, your grandchild’s birthday present or food, has become second nature to people. Out of all progress made in smart homes, seniors having the ability to have things delivered is probably the biggest innovation and is growing daily.

If you’re a baby boomer or older, get smart. Don’t fight the technology, embrace it. It will only make your life easier and may also improve the value of your home. Remember – thrive, don’t age.

More Castles in the Sand:

Home ownership and the millennials

What’s in a hurricane name?

Falling in love with a second home