For years, the ‘smart’ home was primarily only purchased by more affluent custom homeowners, but given the advances in technology of late and demands from buyers, connected homes are no longer just for the elite. These homes are becoming more common across the board, and builders need to make sure they can keep up.

Taylor Morrison, www.taylormorrison.com, Houston, Texas, recognized this trend and is now one of the first volume builders to include technology in every home at no additional cost to the customer.

Earlier this year, the homebuilder announced its Interactive Home, www.ourhightechhome.com, which includes technology for customized lighting, music, video, communications, and security. Homeowners can monitor the front door, manage systems through mobile devices, and even receive remote notifications about the home.

After roughly two months of selling the Interactive Home, the builder announced results of its efforts. Due to the technology, buyers not only stay in the models longer, but the Interactive Homes are experiencing an uptick in sales as well, with more than 200 homes sold in the Houston area.

In particular, the company says buyers are interested in the audio functionality, and typically choose to add more intercom and audio locations.

Connected devices, in general, are gaining quite a bit of momentum among consumers as of late. A study from Pew Research, www.pewresearch.org, Washington, D.C. shows 46% of adults own a smartphone. In comparison, Taylor Morrison estimates 60% of prospects and buyers that visit the model home own a smartphone or iPad.

For builders that are interested in taking the plunge and implementing technology in models, what are the next steps? Well, for one, finding an expert to help with the technology is key. Taylor Morrison, for example, works with Connect One, www.connectonesecurity.com, Houston, Texas, which integrates the technology in the Interactive Home.

Another consideration is how much and what types of technology to include. Some of the staples include audio—evidenced by Taylor Morrison’s buyers—lighting controls, and home security. These days, if there is a system in a home, it most likely can be connected.

Energy efficiency is also gaining momentum among homeowners. Meritage Homes,www.meritagehomes.com, Raleigh, N.C., recently announced it is offering Echo technology in its new homes. Many home-automation systems on the market today additionally allow for monitoring and management of energy consumption.

The trend of connected technologies in the home is beginning to exit the early-adopter phase and move to more mainstream adoption. As a builder, now might be the right time to evaluate the role home-automation technologies can play in your sales strategy going forward.