Talking To Clients About Home Automation

If you’re a real estate agent today, there’s a good chance you’ve sold and listed a house with home automation features. Connected “smart home” devices have gained popularity rapidly in recent years.

According to a recent report, in 2016, the number of smart homes reached 169 million and installations are projected to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent over the next few years.

With such rapid growth in recent years, it can be a challenge to keep up the home automation industry, let alone explain its myriad pros and cons to buyers. By explaining various smart home offerings and their comparative value, however, you can turn a possible unknown into a selling point.

What Makes a Home Smart?

Home automation features have been around since the 1970s, but were a concept way before then (think “The Jetsons” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”). But with the advent of WiFi-connected devices, the industry has exploded.

Generally, any home feature or device that can connect to the internet is considered a “smart” device. These items can be as minor as a lamp or as vital as a thermostat.

In general, smart devices sync with a smartphone or computer application where you can view data and control the device. Smart garage doors can be opened from your phone and allow you to check if you remembered to close the door without driving back home.

Smart smoke alarms can send a notification to your pocket if there’s a fire. Ultimately, these devices are built with two main goals in mind: convenience and cost savings.

Explaining Value

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types of home automation devices available, their function and price, and what type of value they add to the home.

One thing to remember is that most home automation features do not offer a big return on investment (ROI). But, that doesn’t mean these devices can’t be strong selling points for buyers.

Because the home automation market is so vast and varied, its value differs with each consumer. A young family might be much more interested in in-home child-monitoring cameras than other buyers; an eco-conscious client might be more concerned than most with monitoring their energy use day-to-day.

Once you’ve determined your client’s lifestyle needs, you can determine whether a home’s automation features are actually a selling point. Focus on the cost-saving aspects of automation and its convenience when making the case.

Paint a Balanced Picture

While smart homes improve people’s lives through convenience and cost savings, home automation is far from perfect. When talking to clients, make sure they understand all the pitfalls associated with the technology.

There is no real standardization of home automation software, so getting newer devices to sync with or talk to older devices is often difficult. Further, many connected devices require a monthly fee – so if your clients are moving into a home with an installed security system, they’ll still need to pay a fee to keep the system online.

Whether or not your client is interested in home automation, there’s a fair chance that some of the homes you’re showing will have smart home features. Make sure you’re familiar with various offerings so you provide honest, informed answers and help them decide if home automation is right for them.


Keller Williams Realty Named Top Training Organization Worldwide

Keller Williams Realty, the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count, was recognized by Training magazine, the leading business publication for learning and development professionals, as the No.1 training organization across all industries worldwide.

For the fourth consecutive year, Keller Williams placed in the Top 5 on the Training 125, which ranks companies’ excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs.


“We are incredibly honored by this recognition because of what it means for our people,” said John Davis, president, Keller Williams. “All of our training is focused on helping our agents grow their businesses and help their clients.”

“World-class training is the foundation of providing our agents with the resources and tools they need to fund their lives and create opportunities for their families,” said Davis.”

On January 30, Keller Williams received the No. 1 ranking at Training magazine’s annual awards gala in San Diego, California. With the honor, Keller Williams becomes eligible for induction into the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame for 2018.

“The 2017 Training Top 125 winners don’t just set the bar for employee training and development, they vault over it,” said Lorri Freifeld, editor-in-chief, Training magazine. “They are champions of learning and ensure their employees have the skills to succeed in this competitive, ever-changing world. They insist on training tied to corporate strategic goals, and they have the results to show for it.”

The Training Top 125 ranking is based on a myriad of benchmarking statistics such as total training budget; percentage of payroll; number of training hours per employee program; goals, evaluation, measurement, and workplace surveys; hours of training per employee annually; and detailed formal programs.

“At Keller Williams, we’re not only an open-books company, we’re an open-learning company,” said Dianna Kokoszka, CEO, KW MAPS Coaching. “The leaders of our company have fostered a culture of collaboration because we know that together everyone achieves more.”

The Training Top 125 ranking is also determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, including financial investment in employee development, the scope of development programs, and how closely such development efforts are linked to business goals and objectives.

“This is an exciting time in training and technology,” said Chris Heller, CEO, Keller Williams. “A decade from now, the way consumers search for and buy homes will be almost unrecognizable from the process today.”

“Our success at keeping our agents at the forefront of this evolution, helping them differentiate themselves in their local markets, and providing an extraordinary customer experience will be determined by how well we train our people, said Heller.”

In-depth profiles of each of the top five companies will appear in the January/February 2017 issue of Training magazine. For more information on the Training Top 125, visit

October 2015 Real Estate Market Report

What does the market look like for October? Find out in This Month in Real Estate!

If you are looking to become a licensed real estate agent, or want to learn more about real estate visit today. Or contact our Team Leader, Sean Stewart,at 440-255-5500.

Disrupt the Market with More Value

Mega Tech 2015 challenged agents to reimagine how technology can shape the real estate experience.

Keynote speaker R “Ray” Wang, the Principal Analyst, Founder, Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc.  and author of the best selling book Disrupting Digital Business, explained why 52 percent of the Fortune 500 have been merged, acquired, gone bankrupt or disappeared since 2000; and it’s not technology driving the change. It’s a shift in how new business models are created in the new post-sale, on demand, attention economy.

“You must understand how business is shifting to understand how it will impact your market and your business. If you aren’t saving client’s time or capturing attention, you’ve lost,” Wang said. “The pace of change in technology is fierce and this tech convergence powers digital disruption.”

 Top 10 Things Happening in the Digital Disruption
  1. Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift. It’s about transforming business models and how we engage. 

With the move from the Sony Walkman to the Apple iPod, consumers effectively stopped buying complete CDs and instead sought to pay for individual songs, respectfully the disruption meant spending dropped from $6 to $.99 a song. Not much long after, the iPhone came along and killed 27 business models across digital cameras, maps, navigation devices, flashlights and watches. “Think about, in your business model, what can you do to transformationally change the experience and to change the way you deliver.”

  1. We move from selling products and services to keeping brand promises in an attention economy.

It’s about the brand and the mission. People selling products are giving away products to sell services. “Business are not competing with another brand; they are competing for your time and attention. If you don’t save them time or money, they are gone.

  1. New unit cost pricing models enable disruptive business models to thrive.

Dollar shave club is an example, selling shaves as a service. Imagine the smallest unit of something you could sell to shift the way you think and change the way you package experiences.

  1. Data is the foundation of digital business. Every touch point, every click, every digital exhaust is relevant insight.

More insights allow you to see what’s happening. After examining the commonalities of top sales representatives at one company, data revealed they all started in customer service and support so this was applied to sales training.

  1. If 20 percent of your revenue is not an insight stream by 2020, you won’t have a digital business model.

Creating brand new experiences based upon information and insights from data and the value of the information enables brand new selling experiences and business models.

  1. You can be the content, the network and the arms dealers. The digital winners will figure out how to vertically integrate all three.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft can do the network, the content and the technology; and each company remains determined to disrupt.

  1. Digital artisans emerge as organizations with the best math and design will dominate in a winner takes all world.

We need to humanize digital to bring the left and right brain together.

  1. People to people (P2P) democratizes distribution which strips out friction and transaction costs.

Tesla has done this by fundamentally destroying the auto dealer network by delivering direct. “If you are not adding value in the transaction, you will go away.”

  1. Design for customer segments of one.

The key is conduct one-to-one marketing, while providing mass personalization via marketing automation. Predictive intelligence is the future. By anticipating what people will do next, which results from machine learning, we can model people’s behaviors and market to them accordingly.

  1. We serve five generations of customers and workers, by digital proficiency, not by age.

Don’t use age as the segmentation; use people’s level of comfort with technology to determine how you interact with them.

“Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait. Focus on the brand and the mission and put new models into place using data, not gut decisions, to jump start growth and disrupt business. Disrupt or be disrupted,” Wang concluded.


Top 5 Real Estate Technology Trends

Keller Williams Technology Research Analyst, Adi Pavlovic, presented the top five real estate technology trends at Mega Technology in Austin, Texas.

Tech Trend #1

It is now easier than ever to control virtually everything in a home with the simple click of a button or smart phone app. What was once only science fiction has become reality. And consumers want the technology in their homes.

tech trend 2

With so many live streaming services available, such as Google+ at no cost, when clients aren’t available for an in-person showing, agents can take them on a live virtual showing using a smart phone or tablet.

tech trend 3

Currently, the focus is on providing 3D models for listings. However, the next evolution will be providing these models to clients after they purchase a home so they can visualize home remodeling and furniture purchases.

tech trend4

It’s not about just selling the home, it’s about opening the gates to homeownership. Increase your value as an agent and provide a full home buying or selling experience that lasts beyond the closing. Keller Williams recently announced a partnership with Homekeepr, a home vendor recommendation service agents can provide to clients.

tech trend 5

“If you don’t have a mobile presence in some shape or form, you’re behind,” said Pavlovic. The Keller Williams Mobile App is used by more than one million people to help find properties, calculate mortgages and communicate directly with Keller Williams agents.