Does House Automation Affect Home Values In Every Real Estate Market?
Most folks have seen the cartoon The Jetson’s.
Living comfortable with automation of all kinds. To streamline the day to day a thousand years in the future. In a town called Orbit City, an exclusive apartment complex named Skypad Apartments. High tech not yesteryear same old same old. Like Maine where things change slowly. And if it is not broke, don’t need to fix it.
Suspended in mid air, the effects of gravity mastered by the Jetson’s so all the structures hover neatly.
Space lanes for orderly traffic patterns. Enjoying labor saving devices that do all the heavy lifting to reduce or eliminate the chore load altogether.
Yup, let’s meet the Jetson’s. (Cue the show music intro)
Father George Jetson working three hours a day, three days a week.
Transporting in a whirling sounding, space age plastic top aerocar. To drop daughter Judy off at Orbit High School, son Leroy at the Little Dipper School. Rosie, the robot helps Jane the stay at home mom with most of the automated household duties. Most done with a one push of a button or voice command.
And one underlying theme of the show is the breakdown of modern devices with funny situations they create to keep the cartoon series entertaining.
The cast struggles with the setback when machines and computer programs fail. So the audience can picture themselves in this futuristic era and get a feel for what it would be like living in a so called life of luxury and convenience. When things go wrong.
Oh and the family dog Astro starts his sentences with an R to sound like a growl of sorts. The Jetson’s was a sharp contrast to the Flintstone’s cartoon set in the stone age.
So rewind from the fast forward to current life in Maine, my small rural real estate market.
And how house values are affected by home automation.
Beyond a power garage door control or yardlight on an electric eye timer.
We have to start with some background of the local market for property listings in Northern Maine where I hang my hat and real estate shingle. Where four legged wildlife outnumber the local two legged population by the thousands.
Maine, where living is kept simple, real, honest and not snarky, pretentious or complicated.
Farming, woods related industries are the norm in small sparsely populated rural Maine. The emphasis is automation in our employment areas more than the push on making our homes shining examples of the Jetson’s technological advances for an easy lifestyle. Employment automation related more than home type modification changes the priority or order of where to tweak with new devices.
On the Maine family farm I grew up on and still own, we invest first in the machinery, the upkeep of the buildings and land nourishment. Managing as a good steward the wooded sections of land. To maximize the Maine land output and health.
Not making the Maine home we live in a opulent castle.
Or a place where you barely lift a finger.
To operate it.
The enjoyment personal.
Because not out to impress, be the source of envy. Because the upper crust is missing. There is no pecking order.
In Maine you will find thestate is lacking the upper 400, the hoity toity, cranked up snarky.
There are no Jone’s.
Or anyone wanting, needing to be them in small rural friendly Maine towns. Scattered around Vacationland. So the money spent on cutting edge technology or to be in the lap of luxury is missing. We are not inside our homes that much. There is no such thing as neighborhood sprawl. Or zero lot lines.
The layers of players that run the regulations game of permits, licenses. The HOA lawn police are not here in small town rural America.
Welcome to a Mayberry of sorts where automated houses of the future are missing. Log homes with center stone fireplaces, lakeside capes or bungalows abound that are simple are what the folks buying are after. To slow it down.
We spend more time outside in Maine.
Inside living with the latest and greatest household automated device is wasted on true Mainers. That don’t live on the couch and veg on the tube. And crime, what crime in Maine? No gangs. It is not an issue in the 4th lowest state for misdeeds. No traffic either when less people means more wide open unspoiled space. Not bumper to bump stop and go.
The biggest automation in our households is a shift to add heat pumps to the warming, cooling of living and working spaces. Arrays of solar for energy independence. Off grid simple living in a Maine household.
Before heat pumps using the air and well water to transfer the hot or cold temperatures for our inside living environment, it was a short menu of options for climate control.
Using the front or side, the upstairs sleeping porch that might be screened or glassed for summer living. Head to the woodlot for the cords of heating material cut to fit the stove or furnace in the home for winter.
Order your number two or K-1 heating fuel for the automatic furnaces.
Maybe some gas heaters, a strip of two of automatic electric and a wood pellet stove.
To all pitch in to round out the ways to heat a Maine home where real winter happens in the four season rotation.
We are not amateurs to white flakes piling up outside our Maine household! And know how to handle a Maine winter snowstorm or two. We play in the stuff. Snow ski,snow sled, hockey and figure skate in arenas and on frozen lakes and pond giant sheets of ice.
Maine. We don’t hang out safe and sound inside an automated house with gadget wizardry.
High performance low E glass, beefed up insulation in an attic that helps with heating and cooling are features that affect the value of a Northern Maine home. Just like an outdoor wood boiler that takes bigger lengths, fewer trips to feed the furnace do too. Skylights are not as common because they are proned to leaking if not maintained or installed correctly.
But if there are skylights, then moisture sensitive closing computer programs to shut themselves, to keep the outside element from coming inside the Maine house are neat.
Those are a plus reflected in home values due to the difficulty reaching the cathedral ceiling level sky lights or clear story row of Maine home windows.
So energy efficiency house systems to keep the heating, cooling bills low are reward in appraisals, in local rural market demand.
For air exchange of tightly insulated modern homes.That need mechanical automated household air exchange systems.
With rural Maine farm operations that have seen a shift from lots of small growers, producers to just a handful of larger ones, automation in storage facilities and air exchange systems increase the value in a property sale.
Some go the micro farming organic in Maine route without the spray chemicals or genetically altered seed strains of conventional Maine agriculture production practices.
Also in Maine farming, automated aerial photography and satellite imagery to show where more or less pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer is needed adds to the value of a conventional agricultural crop operation.
GPS technology to do precise planting, allow in time more drone and robotic cultivation, harvesting also affects the farm value. That goes with the country house for sale with all the level to rolling acreage around it. The automatic feeding, watering, milking operations take center stage with the check book. Not compatible wallpaper, quartz or granite counter tops.
Central vacuum and surround sound home media systems do not trip the value meter in appraisals on homes that average a $71,000 sales value or less in Northern Maine. In more affluent markets in Southern Maine areas where the same home sells for a $199,000 sales figure.
Where more automatic features in houses for sale would be rewarded, reflected in the listing and sales price sales data.
So in small rural Maine, we are a long way from the Jetson’s automated household lifestyle.
But more advanced than the Flintstones. We build homes one at a time, slowly. Not hundreds at a time and all the same style, color, layout.
Farms next to housing not new like some places. And we don’t need deadbolt doors, automatic security cameras or household timed lights to discourage burglars.
We don’t work at Stoneage or Caveman Realty either. The approach to living is frugal not cheap. And folks desiring a simpler, rich and rewarding with home grown not store bought are retreating. To getting the basics, to not living in debt or running the roads commuting hours and hours a day both ways.
In Maine, we want to see, raise our kids more than 45 minutes a day.
A figure that I read is the average in some urban neighborhoods where you can not begin to nor would you want to live close to where you work in the concrete jungle.
Our local and out of state, out of country and solar system buyers want friendly, safe, affordable and all pure, four season natural that is unspoiled.
We give up the need for the latest and greatest new gadgets to instead live a slower, healthy pace happy with what we do have. Not lamenting what we don’t really need.
Maine is drop dead gorgeous and down to Earth, uncomplicated living for the short time we are on the blue and green revolving marble. We don’t do debt, live a prisoner to multiple heavy mortgages or loaded up with several installment payment books.
We are frugal not cheap in Maine. There is a difference. When living free and clear and being a Jack of all trades, self sufficient.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730