Let’s face it, unfamiliar technology in a home can be daunting. Whether it’s old or new, until we use it, we just don’t know what it does or if it actually works. We’ve all done it – pressed the wrong button and “poof”…it all goes dark. On a keypad, an “All Off” button could mean the lights, the TV’s or the whole house! Demystifying the technology in a home can be the key to selling it. Make it all look easy and you might just make the sale.
- Ask the homeowner what works.
There are A/V quirks in virtually every home. Before you jump into your new listing’s technology, ask your client what is working and what is not. Though the house may be listed for $10 million, your client may have been quite content leaning out of his bed and angling the Comcast remote just right in order to change the channel. If you don’t know his tricks you might never get the TV on at all. These tricks are even more important in the Home Theater where you always want a movie set up to demonstrate. If you don’t know that the only movie source is a VHS player that needs to be shaken before it works, your whole showing could be compromised.
- Press the buttons!
In-wall keypads, iPads, remote controls, they all do something, but exactly what, you’ll never know until you push the buttons. So start by pressing them…one at a time. Be careful not to go too fast as that can lead to an overloaded remote control processor which can really bog things down. Imagine the pin wheel on your iPhone…that is what’s happening behind the scenes. Be patient. Older systems can have significant delays from button press to anything happening. Newer systems with poor networks can be slow as well.
NOTE: The most common problem with remotes that do not work is dead batteries. The second most common problem – the upstairs remote got switched with the downstairs remote.
- Insist that a seller keep Internet and TV services active.
We all know that open houses are a necessary part of selling a home. With Internet access your listing can easily become an uber productive satellite office. Without it, you might as well dust the cabinets. The Internet will also allow you to select online music services like Pandora for background music. TV services allow you to have the TV’s on in every room.
NOTE: These days a house without a solid Internet connection is not a house worth buying. In some homes, the only access to the Internet is via satellite with companies like Hughesnet and DirecTV. Make sure you let your client know if this is the only solution. They will thank you for it later or chase you down with their iPad when they discover that you did not tell them!
- Turn it all on before the client arrives – especially the home theater.
Selecting the house music system, adjusting the volume, turning on TV’s, lights, raising motorized shades…it all takes time. Make sure that you give yourself at least a half hour to prepare a home’s technology systems for a showing.
NOTE: A video projector does not turn on instantly. It takes on average about one minute. If you happen to turn it off during a presentation you will have a problem as most projectors require a five minute cool-down period before they will turn back on. This is to protect the bulb, which can cost upwards of $1,000 to replace.
- Pick your music, set your volume.
It’s always fun to find out what your clients like. If you can have Billy Joel playing softly in the background when they arrive you might just have hit the right chord! But how to play it. If there is a working iPod dock you’re in luck. If there happens to be a CD player, that could also work, but you’ll need the CD. Your best bet are the streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, or Rhapsody. Find out what music services or sources are available in the home in advance.
NOTE: The best online services for specific music are Spotify and Rhapsody. If the buying broker lets you know in advance what their clients like, you can type the artist name into Rhapsody or Spotify and play every song that artist has ever made.
- Have a movie cued up in the Home Theater.
A theater without a film playing is like an empty circus tent. To truly “wow” a client, have a scene from a Pixar film cued up and ready to go as soon as they sit down. Make sure you get past the previews! The vibrant colors and sound will envelop the room. It is likely that you have a Pixar film somewhere in your own home! Keep the Blu-ray or DVD in the player and hit play as soon as the clients enter the theater. This could be the biggest key to your sale.
NOTE: Choose your demo films wisely. Not everyone will like the crash scene from Flight. Your client may love “Top Gun” but that film was made 25 years ago. It’s old and it looks old. Choose something made in the last 10 years!
- Test lighting and motorized shades before you show them.
Lighting control systems can be finicky. Each on-wall keypad is programmed to suit the needs of the current homeowner (or the previous homeowner!). Press and hold lighting buttons to see if they will dim. This one feature can be a huge help when setting a lighting scene. Automated shades can be controlled from an on-wall lighting keypad or from a dedicated shade remote. Older shades can be exceedingly noisy. If you do not want the client to hear them, set them early and leave them.
NOTE: Gas fireplaces are a great addition to a cozy scene. If you cannot get the fireplace to light via it’s remote or an on-wall switch it is best to call the homeowner to find out what trick he uses, or suggest that he have it serviced.
- If it doesn’t work, call VIA, but not while you’re showing!
A VIA Technology Advisor will be happy to visit the home and help get things working. If it makes sense, we might even be able to loan equipment to help you make the sale and and provide us with the opportunity to gain a new client.
- If it’s Savant, download the free app.
Nothing sells technology better than simplicity. Savant is super simple to use and it is a free app on your iPhone or iPad. Let’s do it now. Simply go to the app store, type in “Savant”, and download the free app…here is the link > Savant TrueControl on iTunes. When you get to the house, sign into the WiFi with the password, open the Savant app, and all of the controls for the house will populate into your iPhone or iPad!
- If the system is old, ask VIA for an upgrade budget.
VIA has created an amazing budgeting tool that allows us to quickly work up a budget for everything required in a smart home. Literally within minutes, we can create a budget for new shades, lighting, televisions, network, security cameras, telephones, video projection systems, and more. You can have it at the ready for the client who loves the home, but hates the fourteen light switches lining the walls, on both sides of the great room! VIA can make it better, faster, and smarter! VIA will make your client fall in love with their home. See the list of VIA locations here > VIA locations