How to Prep My Home for Sale?

Hi Smartthings Hivemind -

So, I’m going to be selling my home in the first quarter of 2017 - this leads to an interesting question I’ve never really had to face before: how to prep my home for handoff to a new owner.

I have about 60-70 devices connected to smart things. Some are built into the house (wall switches, wall outlets, door locks, etc), some are not (wall warts, outside breakout boxes, range extenders, etc), and some are in that grey area (door sensors, motion sensors, water drop sensors, etc). I have a V2 hub, and it’s working well.

What I’d like to do, I think, is leave as many devices as possible for the new owners - with the exception of the Nestcams which are too costly to leave - and probably the existing hub as well. (I will start fresh in the new place - I think it makes the house more attractive it’s pre-set for smart hominess.) So, the question for the hivemind is this: what is the best way to scrub my identity from the house and still leave everything in place, so that the new owners can just sign up for a smartthings account, plug the identity into the hub, and go.

Thanks for an advice or pointers you folks can provide


If I ever sell my home, it’s all coming with me! All 30 ish devices. Too much money invested.

Thanks for the comment Eric - I went through the same thought process, but the money can be recouped in the home sale, and - frankly - I don’t have the days to spend that are required to go thru and exclude each device, take them down, replace missing light switches, go to the new place, reinstall them and register them in their new locations. WAAYYYY too much work…I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

  • R

30 devices @ $35 average price is just $1,050. You could easily boost your house selling price by few thousand dollars if you leave them in. Also save yourself a crapload of time uninstalling all your gear. :slight_smile:

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This thread might have some information you could use. I’m curious if when you settle on a price if you feel the price was influenced by the smart devices.

I’ll leave it to others to discuss the process of scrubbing the house, but I did want to mention that in most jurisdictions you will be required to leave behind anything which is either attached to a wall (including, for example, a motion sensor which is mounted with screws), Or which was specifically mentioned in the walk-through or the materials published about the house for sale.

You can check with your real estate agent to be sure what this applies to for your home, but in a conventional sense, for example, you are required to leave the curtain rods, towel rods, garage door opener, and nonnetworked motion sensor lights which were attached to the house.

And if you advertise the home as being a smart home or even if the agent just mentions it as A prospective buyer is walking through, then you may have to leave those devices that were operating at the time the home was shown, even if it’s a plug-in echo. There’s quite a bit of case law on this one with regards to both security systems and accessibility equipment. In other words if you just have an echo plugged in there and it’s not mentioned as a feature of the home, it’s yours, you could take it. But if while walking through the real estate agent says “and there’s voice-operated lighting” and demonstrated for a perspective buyer, it may become a feature of the home even though it’s not a fixture.

I myself use a wheelchair and this comes up a lot for wheelchair users. If you’ve added an automatic door opener, for example, and that was in place at the time the house was shown, you often have to leave it unless you specifically exempted it in the sales contract.

The Usual rule of thumb in most jurisdictions (although it does vary) is that if you need a tool to remove it, Even just a screwdriver, it should be left for the new owner unless specifically exempted in the sales contract.

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Thanks for the note, Greg -

I can answer that right now: it absolutely is. My realtor is having a blast watching people’s faces light up when they walk into the house and watch him bark commands to the Amazon Echo to make the house do tricks.

It’s hard to remember that 90% of US has no idea about ANY of this stuff, so the fact that the house looks so “advanced” definitely gets the potential buyers interested.

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So in this scenario, you definitely have to leave the echo behind unless you specifically exempted it in the contract. Because you are definitely trying to influence the buyers with that feature, so you have to provide that feature when you sell the house.

I don’t mean to muddy your thread - I agree with faces lighting up. But ultimately I’m curious if you listed it for a higher price specifically because of the smart devices AND if it results in a higher price.

thanks JD.

Yes, you’re spot on…sort of. You can leave the house as is, or you can put exclusions in the home sale agreement for wall switches the same way you do for appliances you are taking with you. It varies state-by-state, of course, but this is my 7th home (don’t ask) - and in massachusetts, new york and california this has always been the case: exclusions wisk away a lot of sins.

As to the house being “sold as a smart house” - yes, that is true - but, again, exclusions cover you. There’s a ton of grey area, of course, around just-unplug-and-take-it-with-you devices like an Echo…but the idea is the same.

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Hi Greg -

I’ll definitely let you know

  • Rob

LOL always fun to see folks use an average price of $35 per device. With $200 smart locks, $250 smart thermostats, $100 smart smoke detectors, $100-250 cams, smart bulbs that can run up to $100, and let’s not forget every every hub out there that connects to ST (hue hub, etc). So the $1050 should probably be adjusted higher.

If it’s in my house and I paid for it, it’s coming with me. Unless the law says no. And all my sensors are 3M’ed to the walls and doors just for that reason. No screws.

I don’t know where you shop, but most sensors nowadays cost $20-25. Smart bulbs - $15-20. Switches and dimmers $30-35. A person with 30 devices may have at most one thermostat and/or a door lock, so the $35 is good ballpark figure, as far as I’m concerned.

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Just wasted a beer looking for a $30 dimmer. Is this a mythical creature like a unicorn?

I’ve got half a dozen Linear WD500Z-1 dimmers. It’s listed for $34.94 on Amazon, but I buy them on sale now and then. The lowest price I paid was $24.97.

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The GE, Enerwave, and Linear/GoControl dimmer masters can all typically be found retailing at about $35. Get one at Home Depot or Lowe’s with a 15% off coupon and you hit the target.

If you’re willing to wait for sales on a specific device, they typically go on sale several times a year at prices between $28 and $30.

Here’s the camel Camel Camel chart for the linear/GoControl at Amazon.

So if you shop around and you’re willing to wait for sales and coupons, I think $30 is an achievable price for one of the budget brands. :sunglasses:

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I just sold my house, and let me tell you that explaining what goes and stays is confusing to most buyers. I had planned on taking anything that was not permanently installed (such as motion sensors) and had exempted them. I didnt exempt the smartthings hub as it wasnt attached. The Buyer wanted all the smart stuff, and I had to explain that the hardware could stay but that the programming was in the cloud on my smartthings account. I also told him he would have to buy a new smartthings hub and setup all the switches and plugs and motion detectors (he specifically asked for them to stay) and program them to do what he wanted. I plan on leaving all the boxes and manuals for him, along with a list of things he needs to do, but I am still concerned he may have issues. At least everything smart still works as dumb switches, just in case.


It’s a shame SmartThings still does not have configuration backup and restore. This would make transferring to a new hub so much easier.


All the confusion can be avoided if the seller would remove anything not intended to stay with the house before listing it.

It seems pretty simple to me. Anything actually attached (wired in, screwed down, or otherwise fastened to the structure of the house) stays with the house if it isn’t explicitly exempted or removed prior to showing. I don’t like exemptions because they have a “bait and switch” feel to them: look how awesome this thing is that you can’t have!

If I ever sell my home with the 100+ devices I have, I’ll sell it as “smart home ready.” The hubs/bridges/routers/controllers (Hue, SmartThings, Lightify, Harmony, Echo) will come with me. Buyers don’t expect to get a free cable modem, satellite receiver, VoIP adapter, or wifi access point with the house. Why should they get my Echo? The trick, though, is that I’ll disconnect them before showing the house.

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