While smart home technology makes our lives simpler and more efficient, when it comes time to sell your home, things can get tricky if you don’t take the proper steps to protect yourself.
According to The Mortgage Reports (www.themortgagereports.com), begin by making a thorough list of all the devices in your home. Be sure to think this through carefully as you’ve probably come to take much of this technology for granted as it’s become woven into your daily life.
Once your list is in place and checked twice, divide it into items that are “fixtures” versus personal property. Fixtures are items that are physically attached or built into the home and intended to be a part of it. For example, a built-in microwave is a fixture, whereas a microwave on the countertop that you plug in is considered personal property that would go with you.
That said, any item in the house could be identified in the sale agreement as a fixture, according to The Mortgage Reports. In other words, what’s determined to be a fixture versus personal property is ultimately agreed upon between buyers and sellers. Be sure to list every device and system that’s staying in the house as a fixture in the sale agreement.
Be aware, however, that the smart devices and systems you leave behind can hold a lot of user-supplied data and information. While the U.S. is moving toward privacy policies similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently enacted in Europe, the misuse of digital information should be a concern for all users of smart home technology.
Unfortunately, there’s no uniform way to remove all personal data from devices, so sellers will need to go through each system and remove their information. This may involve transferring ownership and billing to create new passwords. Refer to owner manuals and tech support to determine the best way to do this.
Securing your smart home devices when selling may be a time-consumer task, but it’s well worth it in order to protect yourself and the buyer you’ll be handing the keys to.