Congratulations on finding a house you like (layout, space, aspect, etc) and, more to the point, it has some or all of the smart features you were after. From my initial post (I’m Buying a “Smart Home” – Part 1) you should have the majority of your answers through an informative exchange with the Real Estate Agent (specifics usually from the owner).
Now you know what you are getting (or not), and literally:
A. What it can and will control
B. What is can’t and won’t control
So what’s next if you are going to make an offer on the property? It’s ‘negotiation to live’ time.
Think about how you live in your own property today, accessibility, alarm, temperature, pool systems, garage door access, etc. From here on in it is all about transition into the new property, hence my use of ‘negotiation to live’ phrase.
Explicitly express what you expect at the time of exchange. You may end up trading and prioritising to ensure you get what you need from the negotiation. Where do you start?
# 1. It is a good idea to get into the contract a handover condition (stating at the property exchange) to have the house smarts ‘you-ised’ at the shared expense with the current owner. You want to familiarise the specifics so you won’t forget them, it could be an entry passcode, smart system controller password, alarm/security password, setting climatic needs, etc. This really depends on how smart the property is.
What is the worst thing that can happen if you ask for a shared expense familiarisation? The Real Estate Agent, from the owner, says no! If the response is no, then move to plan B, or # 2 below.
Well done if you have the shared expense agreed to, lock it in as a “Priority appointment”. Make sure you list the familiarisation items, e.g. passcodes, alarms, electronic locks, setting temperature controls, etc. Be prepared for some logistics and have it ready what will work for you and your partner, it may not be a quick 10 minute property inspection at exchange.
What is your next task as the property purchaser? Make sure you get all of the contact details from the specialists who attend.
# 2. If your shared expense request was rejected, it is only fair now request the list of tradespeople who have serviced and worked on the ’smart’ systems. Push for this from the Real Estate Agent. You do not want to be chasing shadows when something goes wrong or needs tuning – without a paper trail it might take 1-2 hours of a trade specialist to understand how the Smart Habitat works. Besides the money factor, possibly even worse, is your property maybe be unsecured.
Honestly, #1 is very important so try to get it agreed to, especially access and alarm code familiarisation. #2 I think is critical to save you time and money if #1 is dismissed. Hopefully the Real Estate Agent also sees the merit in this, especially as a buyer with a good impression could become a future client as well.
Stay safe. Be Smart!