California Builder Boasts ROI with Home Tech

One California builder says embracing smart home options, now, will pay off with ROI later. 

With a short-sighted view on home technology, builders may be costing themselves and their buyers money.

John Brink, the president of Brink Custom Homes in Tahoe City, CA, devoted a blog post on his company’s website to that topic.

“Simple, affordable and easy-to-install wireless is making the long-predicted smart home a must-have,” Brink writes. 

He says home automation options provide major lifestyle benefits such as climate control, home security and entertainment that really should be considered standard features.

Brink says the building industry should emulate the automobile industry and do a better job embracing tech. And, doing so could mean a more lucrative future.

Early Tech Adopter

Brink has never shied away from featuring tech in his homes. He says his company has been using tech for several years and that he’s always trying to stay on top of the latest options.

“There is not necessarily someone around all day long to open and close things," Johnson says. "You need something to do it for you.”
“There is not necessarily someone around all day long to open and close things,” Johnson says. “You need something to do it for you.”

Working heavily in the Bay Area, he is often building homes for clients who work for tech companies and expect premium technologies, even if those homes are not their primary residences.

RELATED: Tech Options in Remote Areas Provide Homeowners Peace of Mind 

“They do not want sacrifices,” says Michael Johnson, pre-construction manager for Brink Custom Homes. “This is not the old-school mountain cabin, where they’re okay bringing in firewood and building a fire. They’re very much wanting the same luxuries they’ve gotten used to in the Bay Area in a very high tech market.”

Brink says his company often begins its homes with an automation system like Savant as a baseline, then adds products from companies like Lutron, Ring and LiftMaster depending on each customer’s wants.

Keeping the Future in Mind

While affordable wireless technology is now making the smart home more possible, it’s actually wires that can help builders future-proof their homes.

RELATED: Builder Warns: Don’t Goof, Future-Proof

“We’ll pre-wire as much as possible,” Brink says. “That’s an inexpensive way. We’ll run Cat6, the latest wiring technology. We’ll pre-wire the house, because that’s inexpensive in the framing stage. And even though you’re not using the wires, you know where they are in the wall, so if they ever want to tap into them, they can.”

“They don’t replace their homes like they replace their cars, not as much,” Johnson adds. “So, technology that gets hardwired into their home needs to be of a style that can be updated.”

This is an easy option for builders to include regardless of how much technology the client’s home already has.

Tech Investment Now May Mean Higher ROI Later

“Everything can be monitored in the house," Brink says. "You can have all these sensors inside and outside the house that can really, really add great value and literally enable you to understand and avoid problems."
“Everything can be monitored in the house,” Brink says. “You can have all these sensors inside and outside the house that can really, really add great value and literally enable you to understand and avoid problems.”

Homebuilding is transitioning into a new era in which the standard home options for decades are being used less frequently, especially as more and more devices in a home need to be controlled.

“Nobody wants a bank of 10 switches on a wall anymore,” Johnson says. “That’s not going to happen.”

It’s a mindset the entire Brink team is recognizing and embracing as the TecHome landscape moves forward. They believe a small investment now could mean a big return on resale value down the road.

“This is just a small taste of what home technology can do now, let alone what it will be able to do in the near future,” Brink writes. “It won’t be long before buyers discount the lack of smart devices the same way they now discount the lack of a cable TV connection.”