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High-tech homes sell quicker

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 25 March 2008

A sceptic might question the fortuitous timing of a survey from one of the UK’s leading electrical retailers claiming that the latest household technology can help you sell your house quicker and for a lot more cash. However, against a backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook, depressed consumer confidence and a jittery housing market – in the UK at least – anything that encourages people to splash the cash on high-tech kit is surely good news.

The survey, conducted by electronics retail powerhouse Currys (part of the Dixons Group empire), concluded that investing just US$5,000 on household technology and entertainment kit can add as much as 15% to the value of a UK property and reduce selling time by three months.

Curry’s questioned more than 2,000 estate agents and customers to examine the impact of technology in the home. A whopping 75% of estate agents reckoned that spending US$5,000 on installing technology such as TVs and wireless internet networks, can add more than US$60,000 to the value of a property – a pretty good return on investment (ROI) when all is said and done. Some 54% of the estate agents reckoned that installing these products could cut selling times by three months as buyers look for high-tech homes that meet their lifestyle needs.

Phil Tennant from Hamptons International, one of the UK’s leading estate agents said: “The savvy homeowner would be wise to make their property as appealing to potential purchasers as possible, given the possibility of fewer viewings. For the right property, installing technology features can enhance the saleability of a home significantly, potentially attracting those buyers who would otherwise have continued their search elsewhere.

“Undoubtedly, there is a growing acceptance of technology in the home and it is now often expected as part of the modern ‘lifestyle’, with some buyers willing to pay a premium to secure a property fitted with the additional features that they desire,” Tennant added.

So what should you spend your US$5,000 on? Well, according to the survey a home cinema and surround sound system, typically comprising of a wall-mounted living room TV and wall or ceiling-mounted speakers connected to a wireless internet network, was identified as having the greatest impact by 80% of estate agents.

Installing an HD-TV receiver and a satellite or digital TV connection to provide access to premium HD content was revealed as adding further appeal and ROI by 50% of respondents. And 45% reckoned that installing a wireless home internet network added appeal and value to a property – especially if accompanied by a home server PC and a shared high capacity hard drive. According to the Currys survey the average Brit now spends more than three hours a day online and more than 12 million homes in the UK have a broadband connection.

The top five most effective home technologies:

Amanda Clift, head of brand at Currys, said: “You no longer need to have the salary of a Premiership footballer to enjoy the latest and greatest technology. However, taking the time to fully integrate this technology into the home is often one of those jobs that most homeowners never quite get around to doing. Not only that, but many people wouldn’t know how, why or where to begin with installing something like a home server. Take the initiative for them, however, and they’re quick to get excited by the possibilities. Homeowners can really capitalise on this by installing state-of-the-art systems that look and sound incredible but actually require relatively little outlay.”

1. WiFi internet connection.

2. Large screen flat panel TV in the lounge, wall mounted for impact.

3. Home theatre surround sound system. No large screen TV can be

4. HD - TV receiver. (Either Sky HD or Virgin Media HD in the UK)

5. Home Server PC. WiFi networked to enable access from any PC or laptop anywhere in the house.

CE ANALYSIS: Convinced? If so, we are sure that Curry’s would be more than happy to relieve consumers of US$5,000 apiece. Joking aside, there are clearly some important takeaways from this survey. Just like plumbing and electrics, the digital infrastructure that exists within a home is becoming more important. With the emergence of wireless technology, it has become easier to set up a sophisticated home infrastructure. Never mind the fact that most homeowners will take the bulk of the snazzy kit with them when they leave a home, just showing potential buyers what is possible within a property appears to be enough in itself, according to the Currys survey.

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