Houston is one of the hottest markets for new home construction right now. It is so hot that you wouldn’t think builders would have trouble selling their homes. But guess what? The struggle is real. And like so many other things these days, the culprit is COVID-19.
Builders rely heavily on model tours to generate sales. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept so many people at home that tour numbers are next to nothing. This is not good for builders who already have homes in the pipeline.
To sell, they are being forced to offer virtual tours and a ton of incentives. One builder profiled by the Realtor.com website threw in a $7,000 appliance package to close on a house for a couple coming from California. According to Realtor.com, incentives are the only thing keeping some builders afloat.
People Want Smart Homes
If it takes throwing in an expensive refrigerator and washer-dryer set to sell a new home, so be it. But if builders are looking for incentives, why not look at smart home technology? It is pretty clear from the data that today’s buyers want smart homes. They want technology to make their homes safer, more efficient, and more comfortable.
Data from Alarms.org suggests some 47% of America’s millennials already own smart home devices. That same data implies that 81% of home buyers would be more willing to buy a home if smart home products were already installed. Best of all, the smart home market is expected to eclipse $40 billion in the near future.
Keeping the Doors Open
Houston is hot because the local economy is growing. Relocating businesses are flocking to many parts of Texas and bringing well-paid employees with them. For builders, it is a matter of keeping the doors open until all of this COVID-19 mess is behind us.
The same builder who threw in the $7,000 appliance package is pulling out all of the stops right now. They are offering buyers a $1,000 credit for signing a new contract by the end of the month. Buyers are getting an additional $5,000 they can put toward closing.
If all that were not enough, the builder is offering $10,000 in credits toward a variety of outdoor amenities. This includes things like streaming music systems for the patio. As long as you are offering those kinds of incentives, it makes sense to throw smart home devices into the equation.
From Door Locks to Smart Speakers
A $400,000 home in Houston comes with some pretty nice amenities. Builders are finding they have to do a bit better with incentives to make up for a lack of foot traffic. What could they do with smart home incentives? Vivint Smart Home says a good starting point is the smart lock.
A smart lock is an electronic lock that does not require a manual key to open. The lock is activated and deactivated with either a PIN code and keypad or a smartphone app. Homeowners love these locks once they try them.
Next up is the smart speaker. By combining a smart speaker with smart lighting devices and electrical outlets, it is possible to create a home in which virtually every electronic device is controlled by voice. Now there is an incentive. Top it all off with a smart thermostat and you are good to go.
If new builders are having trouble selling homes because foot traffic is down, it would seem that smart home devices should be high on the list of incentives. People want smart homes. Giving them what they want is the best way to sell new homes.