What is the pulse of the residential market these days? Buyers are looking for that low cost, high value home, while builders are looking to provide such a home for buyers, but in a profitable and efficient manner for their bottomline.

First things first, checking the health of the homebuilding industry shows that some markets are indeed on the upswing. According to the National Assn. of Home Builders, www.nahb.org, Washington, D.C., 101 metropolitan areas are showing measurable improvements thus far in April. The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective lows in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.

As builders look to provide a better home to buyers they should be focusing on constructing those that provide a low total cost of ownership. Differentiating one home from the next may could be difficult these days, but builders can lean on technology for a bit of assistance.

In particular, technology inside the home. For example, automated home technology can provide a new fresh look at what appeals to today’s average buyer. Energy management, for example, can be a driving factor for keeping that lower total cost of ownership to buyers.

Major players in the technology space are taking a fresh look at how to provide comfort and convenience to buyers. Still, consumer awareness remains lacking for the most part. In order to convince buyers on the value of technology, it will take a collective effort from the market, including retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and even builders.

In fact, some companies are strongly positioning their products in the market with the belief builders will provide a great way to communicate the value of such systems to the buyer.

For example, ADT Security Services, www.adt.com, Boca Raton, Fla., recently unveiled additions to its smart home solution, ADT Pulse. Combining ADT’s life safety and monitoring services with lifestyle management capabilities, ADT Pulse provides around-the-clock protection against intrusion, fire and carbon monoxide.

By using compatible smartphones or Web-enabled laptops, you can remotely and securely access and control your home security system, as well as lighting, climate control, and appliances, among others.

ADT Pulse mobile services, including solutions for BlackBerry, Apple, and a beta version of the Android app, enable you to remotely arm and disarm security services and control lights, thermostats, and appliances.

Another option comes from Ingersoll Rand, www.ingersollrand.com, Davidson, N.C., and its Nexia Home Intelligence system. The system leverages two leading connected-home technology brands under its wing, Trane and Schlage. Nexia is a customizable solution that lets buyers pick and choose which elements are most important, including home security, energy efficiency, or all of the above.

It lets you remotely manage home devices such as thermostats, heating and cooling systems, surveillance/security systems, lights and shades, and even door locks via the Schlage LiNK solution. A central device, the Nexia Bridge, uses Z-Wave technology to communicate with all other compatible devices in your home. Control the system via Web dashboard or by downloading the Nexia smartphone app.

As buyers continue to look for that perfect home, perhaps it’s time to give automation a fresh look. It might add that something special that helps you to differentiate from the pack.