Items in a home can be digitally interfaced with a mobile device such as a person’s smartphone. Webcams, thermostats, lighting, keyless door locks, garage door openers, etc. can be remotely accessed. Things can get more than a bit complicated if an owner sells his home and does not digitally disconnect from it. For instance if a person still has access to his previous home’s thermostat, he can inadvertently change the temperature setting in a home he no longer owns. Or maybe the new owner finds the keyless door lock unlocking or locking on its own. This event could totally freak a new homeowner out. A seller who is not disconnected digitally from a previously owned home can put the new owners at risk.
Right now we normally don’t find more than a thermostat, lock and maybe webcams connected digitally. However, in the future many more devices will come on line and the problem of unauthorized access will increase.
Preventing Unauthorized Access to Devices in the Home
A knowledgeable Realtor can alleviate this kind of problem by helping their clients become aware of what devices are connected to the current owner’s smartphone. The first line of defense that a Realtor can provide his buyer with is to add a clause to the buy sell contract that requests that the seller “list all devices in the home that can be remotely accessed.” This will alert the buyer to what needs to be done to make sure the seller no longer can access the home’s digitally connected devices after closing. At some point in the not to distant future, I hope we will have an item in the Seller’s Property Disclosure that would address this issue and require this information available via this document.
Is This House Haunted?
Lights coming on randomly, thermostats changing, doors unlocking on their own or garage doors suddenly popping open could make a person extremely frustrated and anxious. Being aware of the potential problems associated with moving into a digitally connected home can make one safer and less likely to think the new home is haunted.
For more information about buying or selling a home, please contact us.