Buying or Selling with “Smart Home” Technology

Whether you are buying or selling a home, think about the technology you may be buying or selling along with it. Many homes are now “smart” — featuring internet of things (IoT) devices such as connected thermostats, light bulbs, security systems, and energy saving appliances.

Here are tips for making sure you are prepared to sell a home equipped with smart connected devices:

  • List all the smart devices in the home. Some devices may be obvious to new owners — such as thermostats or refrigerators— but light bulbs or security systems may be difficult to detect as “smart” devices. Leave owner’s manuals behind for new owners, highlighting the smart features — especially for devices for which it may be more difficult to locate manufacturer’s information.
  • Remove administrative access and personal information for all connected devices in the home and then reset the devices. Cancel or change the account settings and logins. Reset the device to factory settings. This will protect your personal information and ensure the new owners can set up their own account, create new access codes, and set their own preferences.

And be prepared if you’re planning to buy a home equipped with smart connected devices:

  • Reset the devices and check to see what the current privacy settings of the connected devices are. Reset the device to factory settings. Review the privacy settings, and review the permissions and the settings for mobile devices that may interact with these devices.
  • Review the warranties and support policies on IoT devices. Do they transfer to the new owners? Since critical security updates may be necessary, new owners should create an account and update the devices as soon as possible even if the warranties don’t transfer.

Click here for additional tips on securing internet-connected devices at home.

Source: Federal Trade Commission | Sheryl Roth Investigator, Office of Technology Research and Investigation, FTC