While CEDIA’s home tech pros were digging into training during the 2016 show in Dallas, more than 70 Coldwell Banker realtors were huddled in a room for a presentation from Ryan Herd, CEO of 1 Sound Choice and Dave Siroty, a Coldwell Banker Realty VP.
The message? Simply put, tech sells houses – so let’s learn how to talk about it. “Coldwell Banker wanted to learn what the term really meant,” Herd explains. “They reached out to CNet, did some work on their own … and got some really great information.”
Dave Siroty provides some more background: “Before the Great Recession, a lot of people looked at their home as a piggy bank. Now, there’s again an emotional attachment to the home. About two-and-a-half years ago, we realized the home was changing with this new technology: the home itself was trying to simplify our lives … and save us money.” A connection with Lutron provided an introduction: Siroty met Dave Chic, CEDIA’s Senior Director of Industry Relations, and soon a curriculum and certification program was being constructed.
Prior to CEDIA 2016, Herd had cut his teeth with online presentations and a session in his home state of New Jersey. By the time the Dallas show rolled around, Herd felt he’d polished the curriculum: Explaining the technology to real estate agents in a way that both agent and customer could really get their heads around.
“The whole idea of this training is to have the agent understand the basic moving parts – think thermostat, think door locks, think lighting control – give them the ability to identify it and then be educated about this stuff,” says Herd. He notes that the research Coldwell Banker’s done has borne out the notion that people are profoundly interested in the new technology, and fully expect that the person selling them a home had better be up to speed on available features. A realtor “doesn’t necessarily have to know how to hook the stuff up,” says Herd, “but if they walk past a Nest, the consumer expects them to be knowledgeable about it.”
Knowledgeable to the point where the realtor receives a certificate and a badge – something that’s part of an agent’s marketing tools.
So far, 2,000 agents have received the certificate, and Coldwell Banker fully expects that the majority of their 85,000 agents worldwide will see the training as key. The fundamental awareness of smart home tech means fresh opportunities for everyone in the CEDIA channel – and Siroty has the research to back that claim.
“Our latest research indicates that 71 percent of Americans want a move-in ready home -- what was shocking was that of those, 44 percent believe ‘smart home ready’ is part of that equation.” In short, the tech doesn’t just make the home more livable – it makes it more sellable.
Granted, the technology that Herd presented wasn’t what he calls “the big stuff” – no dedicated home cinemas requiring drywall decoupling and careful calibration. Still, by giving the realtors a solid working knowledge of home tech products and fundamental integration, the attendees felt that Herd had given them a few more arrows in their quivers.