The median housing price in San Francisco has more than doubled in the last four years, from around $600,000 in 2011 to more than $1.2 million today. Some people say this is a bubble; others think it is sustainable and will keep growing. One thing is for sure though: huge prices, a vacancy crunch, the influx of absentee owners (both domestic and foreign) have led to the most competitive housing market in America. This means that a lot of people are getting pushed out, and the traditional landing places—like Oakland—are beginning to get very expensive as well.
This means that a generation of tech companies and young tech workers are leaving the city and looking for the right place to live. Areas like Napa City and Daly City just south of San Francisco are hoping to transform from bedroom communities into boom towns. These are potentially great places to use a residential hard money loan from Socotra to transform a house so that it fits the need of this wave of migrants who have money to spend, are looking to buy, and who want a tech-enabled home to match their lifestyle.
The Tech-Enabled Home Of the Present
There’s no question that in order to renovate a house for a fix-and-flip in the Bay Area (and beyond) you’ll need to make sure that it has the right technology. This means incorporating smart tech: gadgets that work with the homeowner and the house to make life easier. This doesn’t just mean wiring it so that the house is ready for Wifi—that’s expected—but about taking the next steps to really allow your property to pop on the marketplace. These devices and features can be expensive, but in such a jostling marketplace, they could be the best way for you to stand out. Here are a few examples.
The Smart Lock
Having a smart lock means never losing your keys again. This is a solid, sturdy lock that can be activated with a signal from your smartphone or tablet. There are a few benefits of this, the most immediate of which is security, because it is impossible to pick (and the higher-end ones are very hard to hack—it takes much more than a smash-and-grab artist to break in).
There is also convenience. There will be no more fumbling if people are walking up with groceries in one arm and a kid in the other—it’ll automatically unlock when the phone is near enough. You also don’t have to worry about leaving it unlocked, as the door will automatically lock when you walk away. This is presupposing you don’t forget your phone, of course, but I think people are more likely to forget their keys, and maybe even pants, than the phone. Additionally, if friends or family are coming buy to crash or to pick something up, you don’t have to worry about exchanging keys. They can either get a temporary code, or just call you when they are near, and you can unlock and lock the door from anywhere. It is a safe and convenient way of doing things, and as phones become tools for everything in our lives, they’ll be able to replace clunky keys altogether. It’s a great value-added way to get ahead of the curve.
The Learning Thermostat
Smart technology is all about algorithmically recognizing and then adjusting to patterns of the owners. If looked at right, it is no different than how a human learns (which is why it is called artificial intelligence). One great example of this is the next generation of thermostats. These thermostats, called the The Nest, at first work like ordinary thermostats: you put in the temp you want the house to be. Over time, though, they begin to learn your patterns, and start to adjust automatically. They learn how you like the temp when you wake up and when you go to bed. They understand that the temp can be lowered during the day when everyone is at work, and then they get the house warmed up before the residents get back. They learn what rooms people are in and when. They make sure that the resident doesn’t have to keep adjusting.
This is helpful because most people don’t remember to adjust their own thermostat except in heightened conditions. They’ll leave it at 72 when 68 is ideal. They won’t change it when they leave, so that it is still warm when they get back. They’ll heat an empty house. Even over a short period o time, that really adds up. A learning thermostat is a huge money-saver, which means you can charge more for your fix-and-flip.
Smart lights also use artificial intelligence to learn the patterns of their owners. This allows them to dim when not needed, to turn themselves on and off when motion is detected or ceases to be detected, and to save money and effort for homeowners. These are the next generation of motion-sensing lights, designed to save a maximum amount of energy. They can be controlled from a smartphone, with app-enabled on/off and dimmer switches, but more importantly, they don’t need to be controlled from anything. They can anticipate and adjust. For example, if you are going to go from the living room to the kitchen to make a sandwich, the light will turn off in the living room as you leave, turn on in the kitchen, and then reverse on your sandwich-laden way back. This seems small, but again, it adds up and residents will see the effects on their bills and their quality of life.
There is a lot more potential tech to get to, and we can cover it in future articles. But this is a taste of what the next generation of home buyers will be looking for. If you can use your hard-money loan from Socotra to retrofit a tech-enabled home, you can stand out in the market. You can get ahead of the curve, and anticipate the needs of buyers. Silicon Valley residents are expanding, and looking for the next big place. By knowing the trends, you can already be there when they arrive.