Four Ways Builders Can Meet Home Buyer Smart-Home Expectations


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The majority of today’s home buyers are expecting builders to have an array of smart home and tech options for their new build. Taking the next step and standardizing on a tech feature, even for a short period, is a risk for the builder. What about obsolescence? What if not all buyers want to pay for that kind of tech in the home? Look at the market adoption curve for smart home technology. Older products that everybody has accepted appear on the right side of the curve. Even people who don’t like technology in their home have programmable thermostats on their walls.

Including ‘Late Majority’ Products as Standard Features

Wi-Fi is almost that far along the curve. Almost everybody has at least one laptop or mobile device that connects with Wi-Fi. My retired parents and parents-in-law lose their cool if they can’t connect to their home Wi-Fi. That’s how pervasive and necessary this convenience has become.

Wi-Fi connectivity is the basis of all other smart home functions. Lennar, one of America’s largest home building companies, has announced that their homes will now include Wi-Fi network hardware and follow a building design standard that ensures whole-home connectivity with no dead spots.

Home buyers would have bought Wi-Fi anyway, but Lennar has taken a step to capture that sale from consumer electronics retailers (e.g. Best Buy and New Egg) and leverage that tech feature to attract a greater number of tech-saavy home buyers.

Home Buyers Are Overwhelmingly Excited About Tech

In 2017, BDX conducted a shopper survey to learn about home buyer attitudes towards technology. In a panel of 5,000 people, they found that 41% “seek out technology as soon as they can”, and 23% will “try new technology that may not be fully proven”. “Consumers are way ahead of the home builders when it comes to technology,” says Tim Costello in his 2017 TecHome Summit keynote presentation. “Their willingness to pay, and their level of excitement is uniformly high.”

“90% of home shoppers say that offering technology improves their opinion of the home builder. So don’t we want to do that?”

Four Builder-Friendly Smart-Home Products:

Consider how these products benefit both the home builder and the home buyer:

1. Smart-Ready Lighting


Buyer attitude:

58% consider this to be an exciter or must-have feature. 54% would be willing to pay for it in their home.


Levven Controls wire-free switches take the place of conventional wired switches.

Benefit to builder:

Finish the home in fewer days, and include a smart-ready feature without increasing the cost.

Benefit to customer:

Convenience, energy saving, security. Add new switches without additional wiring.

2. Smart Door Locks


Buyer attitude:

60% consider this to be an exciter or must-have feature. 58% would be willing to pay for it in their home.


Kwikset smart door locks can integrate with other smart products.

Benefit to builder:

Show buyers that they have smart alternatives for entry security and convenience.

Benefit to customer:

Open the door without digging for a key. Lock or unlock the door with your phone even if you’re not at home.

3. Smart Thermostats


Buyer attitude:

62% consider this to be an exciter or must-have feature. 56% would be willing to pay for it in their home.


Trane ComfortLink smart heating and ventilation controls.

Benefit to builder:

Offer smart heating controls without the cost of a ‘learning’ thermostat.

Benefit to customer:

Easily manage temperature, wake, away, and vacation programming from a touchscreen wall control or smartphone app.

4. Surveillance / Security Cameras


Buyer attitude:

64% consider this to be an exciter or must-have feature. 59% would be willing to pay for it in their home.


Clare Controls video doorbell.

Benefit to builder:

One simple-to-install product provides video monitoring and entry security.

Benefit to customer:

Using the smartphone app, you can see who’s at your door. Watch recorded video to review past visitors.

“Differentiate yourself from other builders.”

Costello is adamant that builders must have a strategy for including more new tech in the home.

“If you don’t offer smart home technology as an option, you’re really late,” he says. “Stop thinking about it as ‘maybe an option’ and think about making home tech standard to differentiate yourself from other builders who are offering it as an option.” Tim Costello is the founder and chief executive of Builder Homesite Inc., the parent company of Builders Digital Experience (BDX) and, a builder-marketing business based in Austin, TX. 

Levven Controls is a wire-free switch designed for production builders to use in new homes. Learn how wire-free switching benefits builders here.

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