There's no doubt that we’ve all been watching homeowners’ interest in smart home technology grow for a while now. So what’s changed? For new construction buyers, their once smart home desires are now becoming expectations
Smart home options now present as "must-haves" for most people, especially for those between the ages of 25-44. And as a home builder, you should know that your prospective buyers prefer to pay for these improvements as part of the total price (which they finance) over a post-transaction cost. These buyers want options that help them the day they move in and allow them to expand down the line.
More than 65% of US Homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home with smart features. In today’s market, offering smart features as standard or at least an upgrade is critical to attracting buyers and capturing your homes’ most value. Ultimately, it's money your customers will spend with a competitor that provides these features if you don't.
It’s also important not to mistake the desire for smart living experiences to be about cool gadgets. Homebuyers are now personally familiar with the core benefits these intelligent systems provide to their lives. Homebuyers firmly believe that smart home technologies help them live a more comfortable life, more comfortably, and with a sense of security and responsibility. As a result, smart living benefits are merging into the most fundamental definition of our homes.
Why Smart Home Technology is the New Dishwasher
The dishwasher is a home feature whose history shows us how technology matures from an innovative luxury to an indispensable part of the home.
Although dishwashers became widely available in half of the 20th century, they were considered luxury items into the 1950s. By the 1970s, people viewed the dishwasher as a necessity, seeing homes without them as inferior options to homes that include these helpful machines. And we'd bet you wouldn't find anyone that wouldn't want one in their home today.
Like the dishwasher, smart living products served their time as exclusive, luxury experiences. Today, almost all of us can recount numerous experiences with smart home products that created tangible improvements to our lives. And now, the price point for modern smart living experiences is accessible to most homeowners. As a result, we all define our ideal home with smart living elements as an expected feature and longer a nice to have option.
Smart Home Technology is No Longer a 'Nice to Have' feature
Smart home technology started as experiments with early computers around the same time dishwashers were still a luxury. From simple home automation systems in the 1960s to more options in the 1970s, things really started to turn the corner in the 1990s as smart technology focused on making things easier for users to navigate their daily lives. With considerable advances in technology by the early 2000s, things exploded.
Since then, smart home technology has moved from something homeowners saw as a luxury to something they have as an expectation.
According to Hippo, 69% of households in the US as of 2020 have at least one smart home device. According to predictions, at least 15% of households worldwide will have at least one device by 2023. The adoption of smart home technologies continues to accelerate as the technologies become simpler to use and lower in cost.
There’s a huge opportunity to distinguish what you offer as a builder by offering smart home options. A study by Coldwell Banker outlined just how much interest there is in smart home technology among new home purchasers. 81% of the respondents said smart home features were their most desired feature in new home construction.
Here are a few examples of smart features that are in high demand:
- For the security-conscious: connected smoke and CO2 detectors, remote video, and connected smart locks
- For those who care about energy efficiency: connected thermostats, lighting, energy tracking, and lawn sprinklers
- For those with total wellness in mind: human-centric lighting, and
- Control systems that help homeowners connect their home’s smart products into a simple to use and unified experience.
In terms of your business, you can now add smart home options simply and economically. With the right partner, smart home technology can become an asset to your business and not a missed opportunity.
Offering Smart Home Technology Doesn't Have to Be Complex
While prospective buyers will have varying definitions of smart and desire different design levels, there is a core set of smart systems that are becoming synonymous with their smart home expectations. They are:
- Multi-Room Audio
- Smart Lighting
- Smart Thermostat
- Video Locks & Doorbell
- Smart Control Interfaces (either smart displays or speakers).
Individually, these systems may be easy to install and use. However, as a home gets more “smarts,” we often see more headaches arise for the builders creating them. As you begin to offer more in-depth smart features and consider presenting increasingly more intimidating options to homebuyers looking for a simple-to-use system, the potential for complexity and cost increase. As an example, these challenges can take the form of ensuring compatibility with other smart devices or dealing with complex (and potentially expensive) configuration and expansion requirements.
Factors like these can make piecing together smart solutions on your own as a builder a significant investment of time and resources. A smart home solutions partner like Orro can help you navigate these decisions to ensure that you realize the opportunity in offering smart home features without having to bear the unnecessary costs and delays on your own.
To highlight how partnering with a smart home solutions provider can maximize your efforts with Smart Homes, here are a few ways that Orro helps its partners:
- One-Stop-Shop for Core Smart Living Experiences: In a single system, Orro provides its partners with the core features of smart lighting, smart home controls, home security, and energy efficiency. With just Orro, you can market your property as a smart home.
- Ensuring Compatibility: Many builders want to extend their smart home offerings to offering options in access, climate control, and more. Orro works with all the smart home products that matter to most people, so you can avoid the headache of figuring out “what works with what” by selecting from one of Orro’s partners.
- Open & Agnostic Platform: While builders are providing the core systems, homeowners want to be able to bring in additional devices and systems as their needs evolve. Orro provides an open platform and integrates with the most popular brands. By working with an open platform like Orro you can also offer your buyers the promise of an easy upgrade path when the time is right for them.
- Tech Support for Your Homeowners: Orro supports all of its end customers directly alleviating builders from having to deal with questions and technical support issues.
- Design Advice: Orro consults its partners on selecting the right products to build their smart home packages. We can share our expertise to help you avoid hiring another subcontractor or getting surprised by a small technical detail that’s easy to miss.
Choosing to work with a partner like Orro allows you to focus on building a home, not wrestling with smart technologies. It simplifies your building process and provides you with easy-to-market smart features and a simple-to-use system that offers your buyers a range of smart options they can choose before they move in.
The Advantages of Pre-Purchase Bundles for Your Bottom Line
The power of simplicity doesn't end with the options you offer. It also includes how easy you make it for customers to add features to their new home purchase. Using pre-purchase bundles is one way to make things easy while also growing your bottom line.
The value homeowners receive by having these options bundled into their purchase is substantial. When you develop smart home technology bundles for your customers, you're simplifying their post-purchase process and making it easier for them to realize their ideal home. They don't have to patch together devices from different suppliers and bring them to you to integrate or install themselves. Additionally, it’s enticing for homeowners to include the cost of these smart systems in their mortgage. A reason that often makes them willing to pay you a premium for it. Homebuyers get more from their money by buying a bundle from you before the sale rather than adding those options later.
We recommend offering several levels of bundles to give your customers options. Start with at least a basic smart package that is a standard for all your homes and then allow buyers to add more capabilities or increase quality or finish through additional options packages. These could be something like Standard, Design, and Luxury.
Offering Smart Home Technology Isn't a Risk. It’s an Opportunity
With smart home technology evolving to be more unified and easy to use, there is less concern for builders than ever before. Offering these smart home features isn't risky anymore; it's an opportunity. No technology is perfect. Occasionally, there will be an issue you didn’t anticipate, but having a smart home solutions partner helps you simplify your transition into the smart home market. And, the value your homeowner receives from living in a smart home each day.
The opportunity you have in front of you is to not only make your customers happy with the home you're building but the experience they'll have in that home long after they've moved in.
With so many people wanting smart options in their new homes, it's an opportunity builders can't afford to ignore. It's an opportunity to consistently make your customers happy with the experience they have with your homes and keep them coming back as their families grow.
Don't leave money on the table because you're worried about risk.
Instead, take advantage of the opportunity that's right there for you.