Why smart technology is becoming more influential in UK homes

Why smart technology is becoming more influential in UK homes

As more and more homeowners upgrading their properties, Tepilo looks at the increasing importance of smart technology.

What are the main wow factors for would-be property buyers? What really elevates a home from ordinary to something much more than that?

As a seller, it’s in your interests to know such things, which is why new consumer research from E.ON – revealing the top seven ‘wow’ factors that people are looking for when it comes to properties – should prove so useful.

It also highlights that many homeowners are adopting smarter technologies – and making their homes in general smarter and more tech-friendly – to appeal to an increasingly digital, switched-on and very 21st century target audience.

In fact, previously everyday items are now becoming obsolete due to smarter solutions, with over half of respondents saying that CD/DVD stands (52%) are no longer of any use, closely followed by photo albums (48%). In addition, just over a third (34%) said bookshelves were now becoming obsolete, while a quarter even said cables and wires were no longer necessary thanks to a rise in wireless technology.

Returning to the top seven ‘wow’ factors, the research found that location of the property topped the list, followed by the size of the property in second place and the presence of a large, modern kitchen in third position. In fourth place was the garden – even more so gardens with special, standout features - while in fifth was energy efficiency improvements, which has become an increasingly important consideration for more environmentally-conscious buyers in recent years. Taking up the final two spots in the list were tasteful furnishing and the latest technology/gadgets being on display.

Many of these ‘wow’ factors can be improved or enhanced by adopting smarter technologies or solutions, and the research – which surveyed 2,000 people on their attitudes to smart solutions available today and in the future – found that many homeowners have already taken decisive steps to make their homes smarter, while 34% have plans in place to upgrade further.

On the other side of the coin, 27% of people said they are yet to adopt smart technologies in their homes, with one in five homeowners (21%) uncomfortable with using smart technology.

For those who have embraced technology upgrades, though, the key motivating factors were saving money (59%), being more energy efficient (55%) and saving time (38%). Nearly half (48%) stated that they’d made their homes smarter to make their lives easier and simpler, while 17% said they enjoyed having the latest gadgets, 13% said they wanted their home to be more fun and 6% said they wanted technology that looked more attractive.

The research also asked people about the type of smart technologies they would want in their homes by 2020, with 44% opting for solar panels and/or an electricity battery storage system, while 35% would choose smart lighting, 20% would want a voice-controlled smart hub and 13% said they would like a charging point for an electric car.

With regards to solar energy, though, a number of myths persist, with 17% of respondents mistakenly believing that solar panels only generate electricity when it’s sunny outside, while 11% wrongly assume that solar panels have no purpose in colder climates.

As things stand, solar panels aren’t particularly commonplace, with only a relatively small number of homeowners installing them. The research found that just 9% of homeowners currently have solar panels. We’ve looked before at the pros and cons of solar panels and how they can help a seller make their home more attractive to buyers, but many are still put off by the potentially high installation costs and the usefulness of solar panels outside of the summer season.

For those respondents to E.ON’s survey that had solar panels, the benefits, however, were clear: 76% said they’re saving money, 65% said their home is more energy efficient and 30% said they’ve seen the price of their property rise as a result of solar panels being installed.

If, as a seller, your home possesses solar panels, this will be music to your ears – and it’s definitely something to use at the front and centre of your sales strategy. With buyers now more energy-savvy and environmentally-conscious, there is a willingness to pay more for homes which score highly on energy efficiency.

Interestingly, 41% of respondents also said that a prospective home which includes solar panels and a battery system would be more appealing to them if they were looking to buy, suggesting that energy-efficient improvements are a considerable draw for would-be buyers.

As ever, ‘wow’ factors, smart technology and standout features will only get you so far. Your home will also need to be clean, tidy, welcoming and attractive. If your property is in a great location, with a large, modern kitchen, sizeable garden space and smart technology on display, all the better.