I spent the other day touring model homes and design centers for the homebuilder Taylor Morrison and its integration partner DataSmart Home Technologies in Houston, TX. For the past four years, Taylor Morrison has been including smart home packages in its various home designs, which range in price from $190,000 to $1 million, and last month it upgraded its tech offering to what it calls The Interactive Home 2.0 (based on Legrand’s Intuity 2.0 software upgrade).
My first impression of this relationship between Legrand and Taylor Morrison was just how fully committed both partners were to the success of such an arrangement. The builder is using the “command center” of the system in its model homes as the starting point for home sales conversations and is offering its smart home package as a key differentiator in advertising. Legrand is committed to supplying an efficient technology solution that truly “scales” from entry-level home to luxury residence, growing in features and price relative to the home’s size.
Taylor Morrison’s implementation of Legrand’s Intuity 2.0 system is offered as a new-home feature in a special promotion, rather than an option that a buyer might ignore. “We’re the only builder in Houston that I know of offering [technology] as an included feature,” Taylor Morrison’s VP of sale and marketing, Jim Ellison, said, noting that other builders may offer a free washer and dryer as their new home purchase promotion. The Interactive Home promo starts with a free base package. From there, the homeowner meets with a dedicated member of the DataSmart integration team in the integrator’s showroom located within the same design center complex as the builder. This mutually beneficial collaboration between builder, integrator, and homebuyer is enviable and impressive.
One of my biggest takeaways from my Houston trip, however, was a side comment from Ellison. Speaking on the many values associated with selling homes prewired with smart home technology, Ellison noted that at least in the Houston market, homes with embedded technology are now given a higher appraisal value than homes without such a feature.
“With all of the mortgage changes a few years ago, there’s no interaction with an actual appraiser, but we are in contact with the management companies,” he explained. “And I asked them if there’s a technology credit toward the appraisal, and most of them now will give credit for the technology. Technology is now being recognized in the appraised value. That was important to us. We wanted to make sure we were selling homes to market value, so the appraisal industry starting to give value to technology is a step in the right direction.”
Until now, the only “value” your systems really added to a home’s worth was in the smiles they put on your clients’ faces. Now your hard work has the potential of putting a little money back in their pockets, too. It’s been a long time coming!