This post contributed by Phil Karp, head of Brokerage Services for Owners.com.
Imagine going home, arms full of groceries, and not having to pause to dig for your keys. Or being able to unlock the front door to let your dog sitter in while you’re vacationing in Cancun. Using Bluetooth® and geofencing capabilities, automated locks make home access far more convenient than in the past.
On paper, smart locks seem like the perfect investment — estimates show that 57 percent of Americans who own a smart home product save 30 minutes each day by using the technology. But as the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. Here are 5 things to consider before retiring the ‘ol lock and key.
1. No more calls to the locksmith
Know your locksmith’s phone number by heart? Keyless entry may be for you. Some devices use thumbprint technology to give you access while others use keypads, but all you’ll need to remember is to change the device’s batteries semi-regularly. Smart lock installation prices might give you sticker shock initially, but they can save money overall — especially when it costs about $152, on average, to hire a locksmith.
2. They add value to your home
Automated locks could net you a greater return on investment (ROI) when you decide to rent or sell your home. Eighty-one percent of homebuyers say they’d be more inclined to buy a property if smart home technology was installed. And Generation Y has already taken the plunge, with 47 percent already using a smart home product. As more millennials look toward homeownership, having a tech-enabled house with automated locks could make your property stand out against the competition.
3. Smart home compatibility
Maintaining a unified smart home ecosystem can be a challenge when implementing smart locks. Many key-free devices have features that are only practical for people who own compatible devices. Depending on your current AI home assistant, your smart lock option pool can be narrowed significantly (or become more expensive). Research the smart devices you already own, or want to own, and double-check compatibility before moving forward with an automated lock system.
4. Convenience over security
Don’t invest in a smart lock under the assumption that it’ll improve home security. At the 2016 DEF CON, 16 different Bluetooth-enabled locks were tested and 75 percent of them were found to be lacking in BLE security. The truth is smart locks can be vulnerable to a host of different tech-related problems, with security flaws being the biggest. Still, the risk may seem negligible to a person who normally hides a spare key under the welcome mat.
5. Remote access
Most automated locks on the market these days work with smartphone technology. In-app access gives you the ability to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere in the world. Pair it with a compatible security camera and you’ll be able to see exactly who tries to access your home from the front door.
The peace of mind and convenience these devices offer is worth the price tag for many. And since stats show that 63 percent of homebuyers would like to have smart alarms and locks, this small upgrade can be a worthwhile investment in the resale value of a home.
Phil Karp, a 25-year real estate veteran, uses his expertise to help homeowners choose the right home security options for their needs. He also writes and serves as the head of Brokerage Services for Owners.com, a safe and simple homebuying and selling platform.