Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about smart homes and smart systems. Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby gives some advice on what to consider when making your property smarter.

The number of smart home products – devices that let you control your lighting, thermostat, or even your home security from your mobile phone – is on the rise. There are so many smart gadgets on the market to choose from, how do you decide what will work for you? And is it worth it?

Not only can smart upgrades make your home more convenient and efficient, but they also have the potential to make it more attractive to potential buyers in the future. There’s a reason that many of the big household-name companies – Apple, Samsung, Google – are on the smart-home bandwagon. A 2015 survey by Better Homes and Gardens found that in America 64% of millennials surveyed were interested in having smart technology in their homes. Given that this generation represents a large share of potential home buyers, it’s a market you don’t want to ignore. The smart home trend is expected to continue growing and in the UK, the market is predicted to double to 7.7 million homes by 2019.

There was a time when home gadgets were exactly that; gadgets. Today’s smart technology home systems, however, have taken design and convenience to a whole new level, and it’s a level that homebuyers increasingly want. It’s important though, to look at what technology really is worth investing in and what’s going to last the distance – it’s an evolving market and you don’t want to fork out a fortune only to find your tech is obsolete almost before you start. For this reason, don’t integrate. Instead aim for free-standing pieces where possible.

Smart thermostats should be your first consideration. Programmable thermostats have been around for a long time, but they can be confusing to figure out and difficult to use. The newer models take all of the guesswork out of the process, sensing whether you are at home or away and adjusting your home’s temperature controls accordingly. One of the most popular smart thermostats is the market-leading Nest Learning Thermostat or the ecobee3.

If you live in a larger household, the ecobee3 may be more convenient, provided you purchase a couple of additional remote sensors. Having these gives you granular control over the temperature in different rooms around your house, while the Nest’s measurements are largely limited to the area in which it’s installed – which works in a smaller property and the Nest is straightforward and easy to use, explaining its popularity.

It also has further useful functions, with the connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector gauging potential dangers, and alerting you if there’s a problem. If you’re not home when something goes awry, it’ll send alerts to your phone. For parents, the Dropcam is worth looking at. It works alongside Nest, and means you can keep an eye on your kids with two-way video and audio from your phone, iPad or TV.

Smart lighting systems can also be a bright choice. Smart lighting dimmer and sensor systems can allow you to easily turn lights on and off via your smart phone, and can be customised in certain areas, like growing brighter as you wake up or switching off automatically whenever you leave the house. Smart outdoor lighting can also help increase security and like thermostats, smart lighting can result in significant energy savings, paying for itself over time.

From music systems to robot vacuum cleaners, smart door locks and sprinkler systems, almost everything home-related can now be automated. There’s no doubt that convenience is a major driver, but if you’re looking beyond your use of the home towards the time you want to sell, focus on the devices that have near-universal application and represent cost savings for your buyer. That’s the smartest move.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Fine & Country Rugby on 01788 820062 or visit