The features, which home builders incorporate into new construction, change according to consumer’s needs. With growing consumer awareness of new technologies, the personal computer and the Internet are prompting builders to provide more than just a phone jack and a TV connection in every room. We live so much of our lives through electronics. We fax our reports, download flight info for our business trips and vacations, and call our children on their cell phones to remind them to pick up a movie to watch. The current explosion of home offices has the avant garde builders now wiring new homes for data management (fax modems, computers, and high speed data services like ISDN). Also, whole home distribution of video signals (via coax) for satellite dishes, CCTV, cable TV, not to mention computer interaction communication.
The upsurge of electronic components, big screen TV’s, receivers, VCR’s, lasers, DVD, etc., and high tech, big sound movies(” Hasta LaVeesta Babeee!”), have given rise to Surround Sound and the Home Entertainment Center. The living room, was the social center of the home in years past. People could visit, listen to little Mary play the piano, or even buy an insurance policy, all in the living room. Living rooms are becoming increasingly smaller and insignificant, a social activity Dinosaur. Where has the home owner relocated for these festive events? The Family Room, also referred to as the “Great Room,” has become the focus of attention. People can pop their popcorn and blow their brains out watching the “Movie du jour” in the gadget orientated Family Room.
Speaking of gadget orientated, more and more home builders are including home automation and security systems in their homes, just as they would any other appliance. This offers the home owner many conveniences, energy savings, and peace of mind. The lights and thermostat set backs can be automatically controlled or adjusted through the telephone. Programs, to control the homes environment, can be entered by the end user according to their individual needs and life style. Builders can furnish full blown automation systems or a basic nucleus which the homeowner can upgrade later. The micro-wave oven 20 years ago was an expensive option, if you could get a builder to install one. Today, the home buyer asks “what brand of micro-wave do you include?” Today’s home buyer is more conscious than ever of what type of technologies are in the home. I don’t think “Scottie will be beaming us up” real soon, but new technologies are playing a bigger part in new home development.
All low voltage wiring for these various systems, video, telephone, data lines, computer network, security, surround sound, whole home stereo / intercom, satellite dishes, etc., has to be wired properly by a qualified installer. Who should a builder rely on? His Electrical Contractor? The Alarm company? An Audio / Video expert? The Telephone man? A System Integrator? The Butcher, Baker, Candle stick maker? It can get confusing, and its difficult for the builder to know the particulars on each system, but there is a certain amount of professional give and take each type of sub contractor must exercise with his colleagues to insure proper operation and functionality of each system. A System Integrator may be responsible for the security, automation, and video portion of the home. He will definitely have to communicate with the electrician and telephone system installer, and vice versa. Getting sub contractors to not hinder another subs’ installation has been an age old problem with builders and is becoming more important with added systems in the home.
The 21st Century builder who offers his buyer the “Bells and Whistles” of this technological era can realize increased sales because of the competitive edge, not to mention customer satisfaction. When the consumer is happy he becomes a source of built-in publicity which is a positive marketing advantage. The average consumer enjoys systems that are: “user friendly,” offer conveniences pertinent to their life style, perform reliably, add a certain prestige to their home, and will generate long term cost savings. Of course, there are the “Techno Maniacs” that have to “Hyper-trick” their new home with every feature and gadget known to man. Hey! I say! Take it to the moon! By including specialized systems in the home, appraisers will now take into consideration the extra value that you have created. The vast majority of builders in the United States are not building hundreds of homes per year, but less than 20. The competitive edge really comes into play when buyers do their homework and compare features and options.