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Is your new home plugged in?

by Meghann Finn Sepulveda on Dec 4, 2015

When you toured your builder’s model homes, you probably noticed the music playing in the entryway, the surround sound in the family room, the home office set-up in the den and the television that was mounted on the outdoor patio wall. What you may not have thought about is the fact that these — and other electrical options from lighting to ceiling fans — should be discussed, considered and decided prior to the construction of your new home.

Here are a few thoughts and ideas to help get you started on the electrical discussion with your builder.

Identify needs

When it comes to wiring, it’s best to take into consideration not just your current needs, but also any future requirements.

“We typically provide a Category 5 [CAT-5] wiring system as a standard feature in three areas of the home including the master bedroom, great room and den,” said Bob Williams, a general manager at Shea Trilogy and Trilogy at Vistancia, Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Community. “We can switch those around and upgrade additional rooms if desired.”

Buyers should take into consideration scenarios such as family members who plan to work from a home office and what those electrical needs may be — from computers, hard drives and printers to lighting and charging systems for laptops, tablets and phones.

Entertainment areas also require well-thought-out electrical considerations. Indeed, Williams said that approximately 50 percent of his buyers do some sort of wiring upgrade to the surround sound system. “Many want speakers installed on the rear patio to pipe music into their outdoor living space,” he noted.

Other electrical options and things to consider include outlet placement, wiring for ceiling fans, special lighting, central vacuum systems and home theaters. Industry experts encourage — and your builder might require — buyers to make these decisions prior to the construction phase of the building process to ensure the project is completed properly.

Home automation

Increasing in popularity is smart home automation technology.

“This tool allows people to manage their home while being away,” said Steve Snoddy, vice president of sales for AV Homes. “The idea is that homeowners can make adjustments to their home from the convenience of their smart phone, tablet or computer.”

Builders such as Shea Homes and AV Homes feature home automation options with offerings that include the ability to control security systems, lighting, thermostats, locks and irrigation, among other areas. Some AV Homes communities such as Stonebridge in Peoria are testing this new concept to evaluate if home automation is what their consumers are seeking. The homebuilder plans to expand this offering as buyer demand dictates.

“The nice thing about this feature is that a person can be at work or out of town and can unlock the front door for the housekeeper or heat up the hot tub before arriving home,” Snoddy said. “Another perk includes the ability to stream live video from cameras to monitor the interior and exterior of the home.”

AV Homes sets up low voltage appointments for its buyers — separate from the scheduled design center visit — to give buyers an opportunity to sit down with an experienced electrical professional to ask questions, view demonstrations and determine the most appropriate selections.

“This is becoming such a big deal to our buyers,” Snoddy said. “We feel like it’s important for them to have the additional time to explore these options and feel comfortable with their decisions.”

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