Smart Home Tech: Is It Real Property or Personal Belongings in a Home Sale?

Smart Home Tech: Is It Real Property or Personal Belongings in a Home Sale?

Many of today's homeowners have accumulated multiple high-tech "smart" devices to make their homes more convenient, economical, and fun to operate. When they decide to sell their homes, they need to make the listing agent completely aware of whether they will be included in the sale.

Some of these things easily meet the definition of real property because they are permanently installed, such as thermostats, doorbells, cameras, garage door openers, and pool equipment monitors.  A rule of thumb frequently mentioned is that if it were removed, the functionality would cease, or if there is evidence of where it had been, it is probably real property and is included in the sale.

Other devices, like virtual assistants made by Amazon, Apple, or Google, may not specifically meet that criteria. Still, they are needed to operate things like electrical switches and plugs or lamps.  It becomes a grey area of whether it is real property when TVs, doorbells, garage door openers, and other devices depend on virtual assistants.

Door locks, as well as some other devices, have a master code written on them that allows the new owner to reset the combination, ensuring not only their safety but also the potential liability for the seller.  Sometimes, the seller must do this using the app on their computer or phone while it is still connected to their home network.  It may be prudent to arrange a time for the seller to reset the devices in question for the buyers' convenience and security.

Smart home additions could easily be a selling point for potential buyers, and sellers need to weigh the benefits of promoting the advantages of such items and including those items in the home sale. 
Make an inventory of what devices stay with the home and what needs to be done to reset them for the new owner. This could be done at the time of listing the home and given to the listing agent at the same time the listing agreement is signed. Your listing agent will know how to handle it, but decisions must be made before the home is put on the market or shown to prospective purchasers.

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Bob is dedicated to offering the finest real estate service available in the Lake Geneva area. He attempts to make each buyer or seller he works with feel like they are the one and only client he has and strives to make each transaction a pleasurable experience with the least amount of problems, stress, and inconvenience to them.

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