Imagine being a millennial home buyer in the market for your first home. After scouring the listings and visiting more than a dozen properties, you just cannot seem to find what you are after. Then you do the unthinkable: you order a brand-new smart home from Amazon.
Sound far-fetched? It’s not. Amazon has partnered with a number of different companies to explore the possibility of selling modular, factory-built homes featuring all of the latest smart home technology. What are being called Amazon houses are already starting to pop up in California.
Part of the appeal is cost. Modular homes built in factories – regardless of who actually builds them – tend to be cheaper than site-built houses. Yet price alone is not the only factor. What intrigues so many younger buyers is the idea of purchasing a home that comes fully equipped with all of the latest home automation options. They want home automation, and it seems more practical for them to buy a house with the technology already built-in rather than retrofitting an older house.
Savings and Efficiency
So, what is so appealing about home automation to younger buyers? Let us start with savings and efficiency. It’s no secret that discussions of home automation are often tied to things like thermostats and lighting. Equip a home with smart technology and homeowners stand to save on their utility bills through greater efficiency.
A smart thermostat capable of learning a homeowner’s lifestyle and schedule can automatically adjust itself in order to maximize efficiency. Over the life of a home, that translates into significant savings. Likewise, smart lighting can save money too. Less money is spent on electricity because lighting is used in accordance with actual need.
Perceptions of Convenience
After savings and efficiency are perceptions of convenience. If you are an older person, think back and see if you can remember what it was like to get your first wireless phone at home. Not being tied to a wired receiver in the kitchen gave you freedom to have phone conversations as you wandered around the room. To you, that was terribly convenient.
The younger buyers of the 21st-century equate convenience with technology. Consider that a member of Generation Z has no inkling of life without the internet. That young person has never experienced a rotary dial telephone, a television without a remote control, and a world without e-mail.
It stands to reason that younger buyers who have grown up in the era of technology would consider home automation more convenient. And why not? Isn’t it more convenient to ask your smart speaker for the weather forecast rather than turning on the TV or a laptop?
Flexibility and Control
Vivint Smart Home, a nationwide provider of home automation and security equipment, points out that younger home buyers appreciate the flexibility and control smart home technology offers. For example, home automation affords the opportunity to remotely control door locks.
For young families with kids, home automation adds a measure of security that was not previously available. For instance, imagine a smart home with wireless video cameras installed in the living room and kitchen. Mom and dad can check on the kids every afternoon to make sure they are home from school. They can also check the video feeds to ensure the kids are doing their homework.
The modern smart home is flexible in the sense that whatever controls are set up can be changed at any time. Homeowners are not locked in. For purposes of illustration, consider the smart thermostat. Yes, it saves money by increasing efficiency, but it is also remotely accessible.
A homeowner with a smart thermostat does not have to live with static programming. She might be expecting guests for dinner that evening, so she manually adjusts the thermostat to ensure the house is warm enough before she even gets home. How does she do it? With her smartphone.
Home automation might not be something that baby boomers and Gen Xers are excited about, but it certainly has captured the attention of younger generations. As today’s young home buyers are entering the market for the first time, they have an eye on home automation. Builders beware.