The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development, with assistance from Lauren Hampton and the Podfly editorial team.
As society becomes more forward-thinking, smart technology is moving into our homes. Chad Curry, managing director of the Center for REALTOR® Technology (CRT), joins host Monica Neubauer for Episode 10 of the Center for REALTOR® Development Podcast to talk about smart home technology and many other technological advancements that affect REALTORS® and homeowners.
Founded in 2001, the initial purpose of the CRT was to help improve data standards in the real estate industry. Since then, CRT has evolved into a multi-disciplinary technology research and development group at NAR. The group investigates various technologies to determine how they could be used to support REALTORS®. CRT also offers consultations to NAR members on their web properties and offers strategies and resources for improving technological acumen.
Since Curry took over in 2011, CRT has also started looking at emerging technologies and what smart home advancements mean for REALTORS® and consumers. The group is involved in extensive outreach and has a lab where people can come see what they’re working on. Some projects they are working on these days include (among many others):
- Developing carbon dioxide monitors for homes to better understand exactly how homes and the zones within them are used by inhabitants;
- Partnering with the University of Illinois to create a fully-functional smart home for people who want to “age in place;” and
- Working with the Department of Energy on a project called the Home Energy Information Accelerator to provide property-specific historical data, sort of like a Carfax for the home.
Curry and Neubauer begin their conversation with an overview of the origins of smart home technology. The movement really started to grow with the development of the Nest Thermostat. Currently, CRT tests about 80 different devices in their lab. Many people consider these devices to be for younger buyers, but, really, these days, they are for all types and ages of consumers.
There are several different categories of smart home technologies. Some of these include smart hubs, thermostats, smart locks, cameras and air-quality systems. Insurance and utility companies often offer rebates or discounts for installing smart devices in the home.
Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home both have numerous businesses they partner with and are compatible with a number of other devices. Right now, these devices communicate only one-way, but they do allow for a lot of control and a lot of freedom. The instant connection with the voice activation can also save time by cutting out micro-interactions and preventing distractions (such as having to find and wrangle your cell phone to access them).
Some devices may stay with the house or may move with individuals. They are usually connected with a person’s phone, but they can be reset if the homeowner wants to leave them behind. REALTORS® need to remember that even if they are not using these smart home products themselves, their clients could potentially be using them. REALTORS® need to be knowledgeable about them because they are part of real estate transactions.
CRT has developed a number of online tools and resources to assist REALTORS® and consumers with understanding, using, and owning smart home technologies, and getting up to speed with them. Some of their tools are described below, but they are all publicly available. To access, please visit www.crtlabs.org.
- Smart Home Glossary – A comprehensive glossary of terms related to smart homes and smart home devices so that real estate professionals and consumers can begin to get familiar with the terminology
- Smart Home FAQ – An expansion of the glossary above that answers frequently asked questions about smart homes and smart home technology in FAQ format
- Smart Home Simplified – A collection of one-page downloadable and printable PDFs, organized by device type, to help REALTORS® educate themselves and their clients about all types of smart home devices
- Smart Home Checklist – An interactive tool which assists real estate professionals and their clients in identifying smart home devices within a home, and serves as a guide for understanding how to transfer ownership or reset these products as a result of real estate transactions
- CRT Blog – Over two years’ worth of blog posts from CRT staff, developers, and engineers, tackling technology in real estate from every perspective
- CRT Ledger – Online mockups of what a real estate transactions could look like using blockchain technology (examples of purchases and also new home construction are offered)
In the rest of their conversation, Curry and Neubauer discuss other current hot technology topics for real estate and beyond, such as: data privacy; the smart city movement; self-driving cars; cryptocurrency; and maker spaces. Check out the complete recording of Episode 10 (as well as all the others that have been recorded up to now) at CRDpodcast.com. The links at the top of the page will lead you to the different audio marketplaces where you can subscribe to the podcast: iTunes, Android, Stitcher, TuneIn, GooglePlay—whichever of these you prefer to use for your podcast consumption.
Our monthly podcast focuses on education in the real estate industry. It addresses formal education programs (such as those from NAR) and informal sources of industry knowledge (such as peers and mentors). Its intended audiences include REALTORS®, real estate professionals, allied professions (such as appraisers and lenders), educators, education providers, and consumers. To listen or subscribe, visit www.crdpodcast.com.
For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.
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