Advice Withfor

Sustainable housing and home automation for energy efficiency

If this year 2020 has taught us anything, it is that domestic spaces are the most important. Many people have rediscovered that spending more time at home means having more comfortable areas, with better distribution and with elements that provide greater satisfaction for all members of the family.

Having an intelligent house that uses tools such as home automation is a decision that brings not only personal benefits, but also collective ones and helps to make society aware of sustainability and the environment.

At Withfor, a real estate agency in Barcelona, this is an issue that makes us aware and to which we are 100% committed. We want all our clients who want to get involved in creating, as we do, a future oriented towards sustainable housing, betting on modifications such as the use of intelligent devices.


What is sustainable housing?

The technological development that has been achieved by mankind has brought great advantages, but realistically, it has also brought not so pleasant consequences. The aim of sustainability is to reduce the negative environmental consequences of certain types of construction.

When developing sustainable buildings, the aim is also to optimise natural resources. In this way, the construction of houses with “sustainable materials”, the use of solar panels, etc. better conserves energy and reduces carbon emissions. With all this, the aim is to reduce the impact of pollution in the long term.


All about home automation. What is it and what is it for?

In line with sustainability, the concept of home automation arises. A home automation system is one that is programmed and automated to manage a series of functions that contribute to and facilitate the operation of devices and everything that lives together in the home. All this, applied from the remote and wireless.

The main objective of home automation is to provide comfort, well-being and security to all members of the family. Here, family habits and routines are merged with the system of lights, heating, locks, air conditioning and irrigation systems, among others, to contribute directly to energy saving and ecology.


Advantages of sustainable houses and home automation

So, a home created with a sustainable conscience will probably make use of home automation systems. The benefits include:

  • A great contribution to the domestic economy. Applying saving policies guarantees almost 70% reduction in energy consumption.
  • Security guaranteed by intelligent alarms for houses that detect fires, intruders, gas leaks or water leaks. Also voice recognition.
  • A great ally that facilitates daily tasks and leaves more free time for the family to share. For example, it is possible to use home automation to turn off the heating or air conditioning if someone opens the windows, and it also serves to automatically turn on the alarm and send warnings to both the police and the owner when leaving the house.
  • It allows you to take control of your home and avoid chaos. Comfort is guaranteed with lighting and heating systems that are in tune with needs. In addition, for maximum comfort you can use the programming of aroma diffusers or musical backgrounds.
  • It allows multiple users to access the system, which allows each member of the family to contribute to the way the home works.

Is it feasible to have energy efficiency in my home thanks to home automation?

The answer is a resounding yes. Applying a reliable ecosystem optimizes the resources within the home. In addition, it provides monthly reports of costs and consumption, which makes you aware if something is failing.

Together, one should not lose sight of the fact that energy efficiency is linked to minimising the load of electromagnetic waves, as it requires less energy to achieve the same performance or perform the same function.

How can I make a smart home?

To have a smart home it is important to highlight the idea of accessibility of home automation, it is a design for everyone, and everyone can apply this concept and turn it into a way of life.

  1. Do it progressively: the important thing is that you start or try out a device, and then add devices to the whole.
  2. Check your internet: it is essential that your speed and connectivity are adequate.
  3. Choose a system: it should be easy and reliable for you. There are many options on the market, whether it is Apple homekit, Samsung smartthings, Ikea homekit, Google smart home or Alexa Amazon devices.
  4. Compatibility: all devices must be compatible with each other and synchronized to achieve a harmonious whole.
  5. Installation: it is best that it is self-managing and that it is pre-configured to achieve easy administration and avoid civil works to activate it.

Some tools for home automation

Some devices, gadgets, applications, and platforms will be your best friends in this process, it is important that you are completely familiar with them and that they coexist harmoniously.

  • Speakers
  • Lighting and air conditioning
  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Security

At Withfor, this is an issue that really concerns us and is of great concern to us, as it is our mission to consider and encourage the use of tools that promote a more sustainable life, responsible both to people and the environment. As an example of this, we consider, among other elements, smart buildings, and sustainable financing as central points for sustainability. We would be delighted to talk to you and explain everything about our property services at any time – we are always available for any questions!

Advice Withfor

Withfor advice: How to find out how much my house is worth?

How can I calculate the value of a house/flat?

The most common doubt of most of our clients when it comes to selling is usually thinking about how much their home costs. Giving it an appropriate price makes the difference, but it is a process that is not done at random, since many factors influence it.

We, as professionals in the real estate sector, take these aspects into account when valuing a property:

  1. Detailed analysis of the property:
    To be able to give a price of a property in the most accurate way, we start with a comparative study using different specialized programs that include algorithms that take into account the following parameters:
  • The location (neighbourhood).
  • The built area.
  • Whether there is a terrace and its surface area.
  • The number of rooms.
  • The number of bathrooms.
  • The height of the floor.
  • The orientation, lighting.
  • Whether it is an interior facing or exterior facing floor.
  • The conservation (not only of the floor but also of the building and common areas).
  • Whether or not it has a lift.
  • Whether it has a storage room or garage.
  • Age (years).
  • Reforms or future spills.

In this type of procedure, samples are taken of similar properties within the same neighbourhood, and both the prices of the properties currently advertised and those sold over the last two years are analysed (actual data from the Land Registry).

As a property owner, since you do not have access to this data, you can carry out an approximate study by studying the properties advertised on the property portals using the comparative criteria previously detailed.

There are items that cannot be modified, however, any improvement that can be made to a flat is valid and can be taken into account so that the price increases. For example, if an investment has been made to improve lighting and ventilation, etc.

  1. Objectivity and realism
    When defining the price. In spite of studying the market and using comparisons, it is evident and perfectly understandable that the sentimental or emotional value we give to our “home” comes into play. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind that the market situation fluctuates and is most likely to be different at the time of selling our property than when we bought it, hence the importance of having a more objective look and listening to the arguments of the professionals in the sector.

Thus, objective tools from third parties, such as a valuation, an appraisal, and a land registry, are the elements that help a home to have a real market value.

Valuation and appraisal. What are these terms?

Although they may seem synonymous, valuation and appraisal are different things (even though they both aim to give an approximate amount in order to initiate an offer). Let’s see what each one is:

The valuation of a home

It refers to the price that is most in line with market reality and can be carried out by a real estate agent. This is one of the services we offer here at Withfor and, in fact, it was one of those that helped our client, Miguel Rodriguez, to resolve the doubts about the sale of his property.

In order to make the valuation of a property, at Withfor we use different specialised tools, as explained above, and we use our experience in the sector to define it.

What is the valuation of a property and how much does it cost?

The valuation is a responsibility and a guarantee that the experts co-sign the characteristics of the property. It can only be carried out by an appraiser approved by the Bank of Spain.

Appraisals work as regulatory mechanisms and make property transactions more transparent and objective. It is true that there are means for free online appraisal, but for your peace of mind, we recommend you read this information on property appraisal.

Where can you find out the cadastral value of a property?

Returning to Miguel’s case, he too was unaware of what is in the public domain. In Spain, all property owners must register their properties with the Ministry of Finance and Public Function. This is what is known as the Registro de Catastro and, in short, it works as a kind of DNI for the property.

It is a compulsory and free document that contains key information about the property. It ranges from the value of the land used for construction to a series of specific features of each Autonomous Community. It is an indispensable document for calculating taxes when selling a home.

However, in order to know the value of the home by cadastral reference, you can consult the Property Tax (IBI) receipt. Similarly, you can find out by making a phone call to the cadastral offices or by going to their electronic headquarters online.

But with our advice, it is one less procedure to worry about.

And what is the cadastral value?

As for the cadastral value, it is an amount that the Public Administration fixes to a property taking into account multiple elements that characterize it. This valuation is made by a qualified civil servant or technician.

It is not a fixed amount, as it depends on variables, which can be modified annually, so the price of the property can change.

The cadastral value provides a lot of information to negotiate the price of a property. It is not the final price or the market value, however, the cadastral value should not be higher than the market price.

Successfully valuing a property with experts

As we have seen with Miguel’s case, there are certainly a number of documents, information and tips for selling a flat.

These tasks can become overwhelming if you do not have the necessary help. If, like Miguel, you need real estate advice in Barcelona, remember that you can count on us for everything you need.

We offer our valuation service to get to know your property in depth, your needs, and expectations and, thus, provide the most accurate valuation of your property. We will be very happy to help you.