As a modern homeowner, chances are you have some sort of smart device in your home, be it a virtual assistant like Alexa™ or Siri™ or a smart thermostat. Smart devices such as these are brought into our homes with the expectation that they will make our everyday lives more convenient.

But what do you do with all of this technology when you sell your home?modern home

Know the difference between a feature, fixture and personal property

Before you sell your smart home, understand the difference between a feature, fixture, and personal property.

A house’s fixtures and features are permanently attached to the home in some way, be it via bolts, nails, cement, or other means. Think recessed lighting or the main bathroom stand-up shower. These will be left behind with the house for the new owner to use.

However, like a refrigerator, a fixture can be taken with you in some cases.

If you need help determining what is a fixture versus personal property, you can use the M.A.R.I.A. method:

  • M: Method of attachment. If the object is permanently attached by glue, screw, nail, or otherwise, it’s usually considered a feature.
  • A: Adaptability, or how the fixture is adapted to the property. If an object isn’t permanently attached to the property via nail or other method but is integral to the property, like floating floors, it’s considered a fixture.
  • R: Relationship of the parties. Typically, it’s assumed that anything that the seller would have attached to the property was considered to be a permanent fixture.
  • I: Intention. When the seller first installed the item, what was the intention and did they intend for it to become a permanent part of the property?
  • A: Agreement. What was written in the purchase agreement concerning what comes with the property?

Make a list of all smart devices in your home

Remember to include all smart home devices when taking an inventory of your home before selling. (You should do this yearly, even if you don’t plan on selling anytime soon). Then, separate them into what will be listed as a property feature when it’s listed for sale versus what you will take with you. Some smart devices, like your Amazon Alexa™, can be taken with you. Smart thermostats typically stay, as they are considered a fixture and can be used to make your home stand out to buyers.

Emphasize the convenience and savings

When selling your smart home, emphasize the convenience and savings to buyers in the listing. Devices like Nest® are designed to help save money in energy costs by automatically adjusting the home’s temperature based on the owner’s schedule.

In the listing, say things like, “features include an ENERGY STAR® certified smart thermostat for energy savings.”

Remember to remove all personal data and reset devices

As convenient as it is, smart technology holds a lot of personal data. Before selling your smart home, remove all personal data from the devices and reset them back to factory settings. There is no universal way to do this, as each company and device will have different steps.

For example, Amazon’s Alexa gives you an easy way to remove devices from the device with the tap of a button. If you can’t find a manual to reset your devices, a quick Google search or a call to tech support can help.

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*Guild Mortgage is not affiliated with the any companies listed above.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.