Photo courtesy of Lutron. You can increase the levels of functionality and comfort in your home with everything from a surround-sound system to energy saving solar panels.
If consumer demand isn’t enough of a reason for homebuilders to offer the latest and greatest in home technologies, here are several more that will boost your sales and your bottom lines.
It Differentiates a Homebuilder
Quite simply, adding technology to a home today—whether it’s a cool surround-sound system, central vacuum or solar panels—can set a builder apart. Not only can it set a builder apart from competing builders, but also from the existing housing stock, which is ample and generally not technology-equipped.
“We have to think what would it take for buyers to leave old homes and buy new homes today,” says Nancy Giangeruso, vice president of Regional Design Center for William Lyon Homes.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity, and builders are looking for things to differentiate themselves,” says Melissa Morman, vice president of Builder Client Experience at BHI (Builder Homesite Inc.)
People really want to use their iPads and operate their house with it. They just don’t want to see all of the technology.” Nancy Giangeruso, William Lyon Homes
It’s a Great Marketing Opportunity
Creating a high-tech difference in your homes also creates superior marketing opportunities.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) annual Tech Home Builder Study, almost all builders (81 percent) find the latest technology features somewhat or very important in the marketing process.
“Builders are saying it’s important to market new home technologies,” says Chris Ely, senior manager of industry analysis at CEA. “They’re learning about technologies themselves and looking for ways to partner with other suppliers and vendors to create value for their clients.”
Technology Increases the Bottom Line
“Builders are trying to add more as standard features, and they are realizing they can do them as options,” says Giangeruso. Options add profits.
“We’re seeing in general that builders are recognizing and keen to look at areas of opportunities to grow their revenues—if they can increase their revenues beyond things like granite countertops, these are areas that can help the bottom lines of builders,” adds the CEA’s Ely.
“You can sell [homes with technology] for more per square foot than we are and have happy customers who will shorten the buying cycle,” says homebuilding industry veteran and coach Mike Moore of Moore Leadership & Peak Performance.
It Keeps Pace with Consumer Interests
“People really want to use their iPads and operate their house with it. They just don’t want to see all of the technology,” says Giangeruso.
It’s not the tech-geek stuff people care about, but what it can do for them. “What the customer cares about is that ‘Oh, I can control my home’s lighting and HVAC from my iPhone,’” says BHI’s Morman.
Morman says BHI Research reveals that among consumers and homebuyers, 20 percent in the process of buying a home prefer new homes. “There’s a huge desire for all things new.”
Fact is, as consumers demand ubiquitous connectivity with everything everywhere, smartphone synching and eventually smart home synching, we’ll see more and more home technology integration.
And not just in the luxury or affluent home markets. “People also want options in smaller homes,” says Giangeruso. Think aging Boomers and tech-savvy Gen Xers.
It Leads to More Efficiency
Just equipping a new home with structured wiring puts a backbone in place that allows homeowners to add technologies, potentially future-proofing a home and adding efficiencies. And by efficiencies we mean both energy efficiency, depending on what technologies are put in place, and efficient ways for homeowners to adopt new technologies and have their homes conform to their lifestyles.
Structured wiring, with Category 5e or Category 6 Ethernet cabling to important rooms such as the kitchen, living room, home office, media room and bedrooms, provides a built-in and reliable home network. And as many home technologies become IP-network friendly, the home network will become the catalyst for home control and connectivity anytime, anywhere. Today’s home networking solutions should also provide wireless access in the home via installed wireless access points and even tackle mobile signal amplification for smartphones where necessary. Don’t let people tell you everything can be handled wirelessly, because it can’t. Wireless is still subject to interference and speed issues, and is not a good option for routing high-bandwidth, high definition video around a house.
“People want to enjoy technology and they want technology in the home,” says the CEA’s Ely, “One reason structured wiring is so promising is that a lot of homebuyers say ‘Let’s get the bones in place,’ and then upgrade later.”
Bonus Point: It Produces Loyalty
Adding technologies to a house and doing it reliably can add another important benefit homebuilders will realize years later: Loyalty. When a homebuyer is ready to upsize or downsize and loves the cool and seamless lifestyle your homes have provided, they’re not going to go to a generic homebuilder that doesn’t offer the same. You may not make just one home sale when you close on a tech-savvy homebuyer, but several—later when they move and also when they spread the word.