Throughout the month of August, we chatted with five home builders about the use of smart home technology, and we learned a lot.
We had the chance to discuss smart homes with representatives from Branthaven Homes, Canderel, Heathwood Homes, Kylemore Communities, and Losani Homes. Here’s what we learned:
1) Buyers aren’t asking for smart home upgrades
It’s just not as much of a priority as the ad campaigns make it out to be. Yes, you’ll see Google Home ads before a movie at your local theatre and you’ll read reports about the success of digital home assistants, but that doesn’t mean buyers expect builders to offer these features.
Losani was the only builder who said they’ve seen an increase in buyer interest in smart home upgrades.
2) Cost is not a deterrent
Most of the builders said that prices have come down quite a bit over the years, so it’s no longer an expensive upgrade. So, this isn’t the reason buyers aren’t asking builders about smart home features.
3) Technology is evolving too quickly
When you buy in the new home industry, it’s two or more years before you move in. In the smart tech industry, a lot can change over this amount of time, so the feature the builder was selling may be outdated by the time the home is ready. This is a major reason why smart home features aren’t being offered as standard or even upgrades.
4) Cross-platform compatibility is a must
There are so many smart home systems available, but they’re not all fully or smoothly compatible on all devices. It’s a headache for the builder and buyer trying to figure this out because it’s impossible to know what the resident will want to use to control their smart home.
5) Might be easier to just suggest a supplier
Kylemore’s approach is to just build smart home ready, then they leave it up to the buyer to make any upgrades they want. Kylemore recommends suppliers if the buyer inquires, but when it comes to system selection and installation, they stay out of it. At this point in time, we think this is a wise strategy.
6) Smart homes will be standard someday
Though there are clearly wrinkles to iron out, there was still no hesitation or question from all builders that smart homes will be standard someday. It’s only a matter of time. The research to make it happen is being done in both the new home and tech industries.