Types of New Homebuilders and Selection of Smart Home Technology
Nearly every newly built home today comes with smart home technology installed before the sale to meet consumer demand and stay atop of homebuyer trends. But, depending on who built the new home and the type of home builder they are does influence the selection and quality of the smart home technology your new home will have.
While it may look sophisticated to the untrained and excited-for-a-new-home eye, depending on the relationship your builder has with their professional security integrator, how cheap they negotiated the integrator down, and how much they consider them a member of the team and at what level, your new smart home could be more for show than for functionality and still come with a hefty uptick on the price. There are few things to consider before being dazzled by a new home with pre-installed smart home tech.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUILDERS HAVE DIFFERENT OBJECTIVES
We are all familiar with new neighborhoods popping up in suburban areas where the entire subdivision is built by a single builder. There are generally two types of home builders for larger-scale developments: (1) traditional, national high-volume production builders, and (2) semi-custom builders.
The traditional, national, high-volume production builder typically builds every home in advance and sell them off one by one, whereby the homebuyer chooses from the pre-built selection, with little customization. These are homes that are ready to go, quickly.
The semi-custom builder typically builds a handful of model homes from which to sell an exterior and floorplan style to a customer, which shows all the bells and whistles possible, and lays out the streets with lot numbers where a buyer can choose the lot they love and add custom features to the largely pre-determined floor plans.
The third kind of builder may work less with large scale development projects and more often takes on choice plots or tear-down plots in high-demand, more expensive areas. These are the custom home builders. You can generally expect that a custom home builder will have the best options when it comes to smart home technology, so we won't be touching on this type of builder here and will focus, instead, on high-volume national builders and semi-custom builders.
The type of builder, either high-volume or semi-custom, will have different demands, needs, and wants. For instance, high-volume production builders want the lowest possible cost from an security dealer/integrator and want it done as fast as possible. They want a system that looks good ("shiny object") and gives a perception of great value without increasing the sale price significantly, but is actually cheap, won't delay production, and can be replicated over and over again. What you will get is the bare minimum smart home technology, perhaps not entirely integrated and not the latest technology, and find yourself wanting more in the future leaving you to seek it out yourself at a cost that is not volume-based. This type of builder tends to care more about what the smart home technology will cost them and if it will impact the sales cycle.
Whereas, the semi-custom builder sees smart home technology as a true asset, not just to give the appearance of being up to date. They know that smart home technology sells homes, especially if it's great technology. Semi-custom builders see the security dealer/integrator as a true partner with a valuable expertise, not just another contractor. The semi-custom builder will be more apt to rely on the security professional to understand demographics and attributes of the target buyer for the home, and see smart home technology as important as the quality of any other custom feature. They may care more about the platform, the technology, and the quality of the installation. For example, with the semi-custom builder, they may intentionally seek out a system that is able to be controlled by one central app.
Image: Alarm.com's smart home controls everything from one app
While these two types of builders differ, one thing they do agree on, besides increased sales, is: smart home tech users are more satisfied with their home security and their home in general than those who do not use smart home technology. Greater satisfaction from a home buyer is always better for the builder.
THE BUILDER'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SECURITY PROFESSIONAL
Does the builder of your new home see the security integrator as lowly as the concrete pourer, or as a key member of the team, and how do you find out?
Simple: ask the sales professional about the smart home technology, who integrated it, and see how much they know about it. If they gloss over the technology and move on quickly to other subjects, or they simply don't know how it is really "smart", chances are the smart home tech is there for more "shiny object" purposes and not a well thought out, purposeful, choice. Smart home technology is starting to be expected and if the sales staff of the community is unaware of current trends, chances are there is little to no relationship with the security integrator who deployed the technology.
Another clue: when looking at the already-built homes, compare the location of the smart tech and the uniformity of installation. A good, high-quality integrator who isn't being pushed for extreme installation times on an extreme budget is going to ensure that the tech is placed in good locations at appropriate heights for all average-size adults in the home to use it. We once heard of an integrator who bid so low to get the job and the technicians rushed through leaving some of the doorbell TVs in odd places and at odd heights, and even where the average American woman could not see the screen. That's bad work, and negates the function of the technology, rendering it basically useless for security purposes. Take a look around and see if the placement makes sense. Rarely is great technology placed poorly by good integrators.
CHECKING TO SEE IF THE TOP TRENDS ARE INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE
You've entered a great new home and you just love it. It's stylish, has terrific layout, and has great bells and whistles, including the smart home tech throughout. But, what if it's not really what you'd actually use or need? If you won't actually use it or need it then it's not really a benefit. Half of new home buyers report that smart home technology is very important for their next new home purchase, according to Coldwell Banker's Real Estate Smart Home Marketplace survey. So, what are home buyers looking for the most when it comes to smart home technology integration? Here it is:
Image source: www.z-wave.com
What's more, they want it conveniently in one app or control hub that can be linked to their mobile device. But, not all smart home devices and systems are created the same. The newest technology with the most benefit today is called Z-Wave. If the brand new smart home integrated home you are looking at does not have smart home technology that is Z-Wave, then it's already outdated.
With Z-Wave technology, a home owner can remotely access their smart home to lock and unlock doors, adjust the thermostat for air conditioning and heating, check on their security cameras, and quite a bit more. Today's home owners want to have intuitive and user-friendly smart home platforms, and be able to monitor and control their home from virtually anywhere and conveniently without confusion. Another big plus? Z-Wave devices and products don't need to rely on a home owner's WiFi network.
Additionally, there are nearly 2,500 interoperable Z-Wave products available today, which opens up a world of smart home possibilities. But with so many products available to integrate and control, a home owner would be lost in the woods when it comes to trying to integrate it all themselves and if a community sales team can't connect you with the company who installed the tech to help you with connecting it all and for monitoring, then you're left on your own to find out someone who will. A good tip is: if you're looking at a new home with smart home technology, make sure the sales professional can point you in the right direction of the integrator who they've partnered with, such as GenX Security, and can extend their services to you as well.
Are you a builder located in Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina and seeking an excellent, reliable, and licensed professional integrator/dealer for your next housing community project? Here at GenX Security, we can work with your needs and wants for your ideal home buying customer at your scale. Or, perhaps you are a home owner who is seeking a professionally integrated, convenient, and simple-to-use smart home hub without all the flaws of DIY, or you have smart home technology but need help figuring out how to integrate it all? We are here to help. Give us a call! Our no-obligation quotes are always free.
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