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It’s a given that certain home improvements traditionally offer a valuable return on investment, like a remodeled kitchen or renovated bath.

Now with the trend toward smart technology, retailers are offering digital devices to automate everything from a home’s HVAC and lighting systems to entertainment and security. But it begs the question: does spending on smart home technology offer a similar worthwhile return?

The answer? It all depends.

Before investing in smart devices, experts advise considering the pros and cons of these tools to decide if the technology is worth the expense.

Pro: Smart technologies can help you save money

Programmable thermostats that “learn” your schedule to adjust the temperature of your home automatically have been very popular in recent years. While these devices can be expensive upfront, they can help save money in the long run by conserving gas and electricity and thus reducing your utility bills.

Smart lighting can also offer energy savings by shutting lights off automatically when not in use or allowing you to turn lights off remotely via your smartphone.

Pro: Tech devices deliver value in convenience and security

Picture a system that turn the lights on in your house the second you pull into the driveway or starts brewing coffee the moment your alarm goes off in the morning. That’s real convenience and real value to many of us.

Similarly, the security offered by smart systems is difficult to put a price on. Many modern home security devices provide live video feeds and alerts sent straight to your smartphone or computer, and let you lock and unlock doors remotely.

Pro: Smart features add a “wow” factor at sales time

“There’s no proof yet that smart tech raises the sale price of a house, but it does tend to focus a buyer’s attention on your home versus others,” Tim Jones of Wilkinson ERA Real Estate, a real estate firm in Winston-Salem. “Smart homes also tend to spend less time on the market.”

Research shows that millennials are the biggest adopters of smart home technology. “As time goes on, this generation will be expecting smart technology as a given rather than a perk,” says Jones.

Con: Smart devices can be complicated

Different home tech companies often use different proprietary systems of communication, so homeowners often need a separate application for each device. Unless you’re pretty tech-savvy, getting all these devices to work together can be daunting.

Also, with technology moving so quickly, many programs become obsolete within several years and upgrades can be pricey.

Con: System security can be an issue

Since most smart devices rely on an internet connection, vulnerability to hacking and data theft is always a possibility, although this risk can be mitigated by following basic security practices.

Before considering buying or selling a home with smart technology, take the time to consult with a real estate agent who can guide you through the details with skill and expertise.

The knowledgeable team at Wilkinson ERA Real Estate, a full-service franchise with 14 locations and more than 800 agents throughout the Carolinas, was ranked last year as the No.1 ERA franchise in the Carolinas and No. 3 nationwide.

To learn how they can help you sell or buy, call 336-331-5550 or visit WilkinsonERA.com.

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