Homebuyers increasingly want tech options included in their homes, and starting with standard package options can lead to more upgrade sales later.
As the average homebuyer trends younger and younger, the need for builders to include tech in their homes is increasing. One session at the 2017 TecHome Builder Summit was designed to help builders recognize the reality that homes need to be connected.
In the HiVol Roundtable: The Tech Standard/Upgrade Challenge, the focus was to help builders understand the benefits of offering standard packages and upgrades.
To help deliver that message, on the session’s panel consisted of two integrators – J.C. Gonzalez, president of HomePro, and Dennis Sage, president of Dennis Sage Home Entertainment. As those who install the technology, they are in-tune to what buyers are looking for and how making those options available can benefit the builders themselves.
“I view us integrators as an extension of the builders,” explains Gonzalez. “We’re their technology division. We need to be their trusted advisors on where we see the industry going, what’s helping other builders sell houses and what we can do.”
Gonzalez believes the key to a good tech package for a home is offering a foundation for a Wi-Fi-enabled house and building from there. But, there also is a need to step up the networking and infrastructure for the technology that will be developed in the coming years. Sage says the best answer for that is a combination of wires and wireless.
“Something has to be included in every single house because of the network in the house,” Sage says. “The network has become everything to technology and how it’s tied together. That network in the house is the most important thing. If you do anything at all, that is something you should design into your homes.”
Once that network is established, the next step is to develop those packages. More and more people, particularly Millennials – now the largest segment of homebuyers – and second-time homebuyers, are wanting tech in their homes, even if it’s just the infrastructure to be able to add it later.
To meet the tech desires of different buyers, builders would be wise to develop good/better/best package options they can offer.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an overnight decision by the builders,” says Gonzalez. “But, the more that we talk about it, the more information that they receive from other builders throughout the entire nation, the greater the opportunity we have to help them understand what we are trying to accomplish. I want them to understand they can control these things with ease from their smart devices, and that’s the wave of the future.”
As long as builders are able to get their customers to buy into tech from the start, there will be opportunities for upgrades, even after move-in. Gonzalez explains that research shows people are more likely to spend on upgrades with a system already in their homes.
So, once there even is a basic system installed, those homeowners are eager and excited to build on to it. For that reason, packaging tech options from the start is a winning play.
“I think builders are starting to understand the importance of offering standard packages,” says Gonzalez. “I think we still have some challenges in showing them the true benefit of technologies because builders are focused on providing a house at a very low cost to them and, oftentimes, home technologies are something they haven’t felt is necessary in order for them to build a house. But, more and more, they are starting to understand that this is a necessary component to add to their homes.”