The term "smart home" can get really confusing, especially for buyers and sellers: How many features does it take to be considered smart? Who decides?
"We've been hearing the term 'smart home' for about the last two years, maybe a little less," said David Siroty, vice president for North American communications at Coldwell Banker. "Technology is intersecting with the home more than at any other time in history."
A study released earlier this year by Coldwell Banker found that about 45 percent of Americans either own some kind of smart home technology or plan to buy it this year. And Siroty said about 33 percent of Coldwell Banker's agents report that properties labeled as "smart" sold more quickly and for higher prices than expected.
With demand for "Internet of things," or IoT, household devices on the rise and more homeowners incorporating smartphone-controlled features into their properties, industry leaders are working on a definition that everyone can get behind. Coldwell Banker and technology review site CNET teamed up to answer this question by putting together a new smart home litmus test and building a checklist for home buyers and sellers to use to help figure out whether their properties qualify.
Under the new definition, a home must have an Internet connection and at least three different kinds of smart technology to be considered a smart home. At least one of those technologies must be either for security or temperature control, and the others can come from a list of categories CNET and Coldwell Banker established.
One of the most popular smart technologies Coldwell Banker agents are seeing right now are those that enhance home security, Siroty said. According to the Coldwell Banker survey, about 31 percent of people with smart home technology have some form of smart security system.
Smart homes are more common right now in more affluent markets, where the different technologies are built into a customized, integrated system, Siroty said. But individually purchased smart appliances and systems are popping up in homes at lower price points.
"It's similar to the explosion we saw in granite countertops," he said. "They were the norm in the more affluent sector, and over time they came more into traditional homes to the point where they're now standard in many homes."
So what goes in to creating a smart home? Here are eight things Coldwell Banker and CNET say could raise your home's IQ.