Production builders have hesitantly approached smart home technology in the past, but one high-volume builder is diving deep into home automation to target Millennials and first time buyers.
North Carolina-based Shenandoah Homes has partnered with home automation platform TiO to offer a standard smart home package to homebuyers. Shenandoah is a high-volume builder with more than 1,000 housing lots in seven communities and plans to close 200 more homes in the greater Raleigh area by 2018.
David Stallings, president and owner of Shenandoah Homes, has chosen to embrace home automation as a standard because of the opportunity to lure in Millennials and younger buyers.
“I believe that home automation is going to be the number one sales item with housing over the next five years,” says Stallings. “Millennials are our largest population base and in the next five years, they are going to be moving into houses and they are going to demand these types of features.”
Luring Buyers with Standard and Upgrade Packages
This builder chose a home automation standard that works in new construction as efficiently as in a retrofit, in a bid to streamline the installation process should a buyer choose to upgrade their home automation package.
The standard package includes basic control over lighting, security and thermostats with the option to upgrade to a home automation package that includes additional features.
As a high-volume builder trying to balance costs, Stallings is hoping that more buyers will choose the upgrade package which includes full control over additional programmable light switches, door locks, garage doors and multi-room audio systems.
Part of the marketing process has been to walk homebuyers through a fully-integrated model home to see how the platform can help with day-to-day routines and to encourage buyers to upgrade their standard package.
Standards, Sales and In-House Integration
The key to selecting a home automation standard for Shenandoah Homes was balancing appeal points with cost-effectiveness.
When rolling out a standard and trying to manage costs, the first step was encouraging buyers to commit to a higher tech sale.
“We will be training our salespeople to better upsell the product and explain how it works to the customer,” says Stallings.
The builder drove down costs by relying on an in-house integration team. “That’s part of the reason that it is competitively priced,” says Stallings. “If we tried to use a low-voltage installer, I think they would inflate the pricing to the point where it then becomes unreasonable.”
Builders that are interested in adopting a smart home standard should consider hiring a well-trained, in-house integrator that is familiar with different automation platforms and standards.