Harness the Potential of Technology in the Homebuilding Process

Homebuilders who aren’t interested in offering technology integration as part of their business model are now firmly in the minority. This point is proven by research from the CEA’s annual “State of the Builder Study,” which was compiled in conjunction with the NAHB Research Center. It states that 85 percent of builders believe technology is important in the marketing of a new home. The applications of this technology are extremely compelling to homebuyers: entertainment, whole-home control, security and more that can come with their new house, instead of them hunting for it on the aftermarket.Clearly, in these extremely competitive times, the time is now to embrace technology (if you haven’t already). And thanks to some retrofit technology that’s on the way, it’s effectively yesterday! Allow me to elaborate.Structured wiring and powerline
Wherever possible, structured wiring is a must for the 21st century home, bundling all of the home’s communications wiring into one coherent system. These bundles can include wiring for home networking, telephone, video, audio, alarms, infrared remote control and more. Running these wires before the walls are closed is more cost-effective and less disruptive than ripping up walls to do so at a later date. These bundles also serve as a Trojan horse, giving builders the opportunity to approach the homebuyer with new technological offerings as they become available.Structured wiring has some inherent advantages compared to more slapdash wiring installations. With all of the cables running back to a central wiring panel, it’s easy to change how and what each individual cable is connected to and what it is used for. Structured wiring also makes troubleshooting a snap, since each of the cables can be isolated and tested for problems. Furthermore, because all the cables run back to the central wiring panel, they can all be connected to the same source without the need for some outlets to pass through more splitters and splices than others. This greatly improves the consistency of signals.Structured wiring isn’t a good fit for every builder or every situation, however. With that in mind, here’s some great news. If you’re not willing to commit to structured wiring, a new option that leverages the electrical wiring in a home to transmit audio, data and more is on the horizon. This technology will allow you to retrofit your existing housing inventory at a reasonable cost and with minimal disruption to add a fresh twist for wooing homebuyers. The system will also provide an alternative way to offer some technology to homebuyers if you aren’t yet investing in full-blown structured wiring for new builds. A multi-room audio system using this technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow.The first feasible multi-room audio system using powerline technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow. If you hear the name Renovia in the near future, you now have the inside scoop.Explore Quick and Easy Demos
Demonstrating technology, particularly architectural consumer electronics like multi-room audio, has long been a thorny issue for home builders. A prominent objection is the expense. So consider this inexpensive trick to introduce the multi-room audio concept into your model home at a fraction of the cost of installing a full-fledged multi-room audio system. It starts by utilizing the consumer’s own music with an appliance they know and understand: the iPod.Multi-room audio today is a more compelling new-home option than ever because it ties directly into the exploding concept of “My Music” among consumers. The advent of portable music players like the iPod has enabled music collections to go virtually anywhere their owners go. Many home buyers would welcome the extension of “My Music” to an entire home. By providing a simple music demonstration, you can entice home buyers by showing them how uncomplicated, powerful and fun a multi-room audio system can be.Simply install an amplified source input and connect it to an iPod dock and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Set up a location in the room where an on-wall audio control pad would go. You don’t need to install a live control pad, just a blank plate covered with a transparent graphic that shows what a control interface would look like. Install this demo in the most public of spots in the home-the kitchen. Allow the home buyer to plug his or her iPod into the dock and hear the music instantly over the speakers. The demo will show the home buyer how easy it would be to hear “My Music” over the home’s audio system. It will make an immediate “I want that” impact on the home buyer: “Here’s something that will make life in this house simpler and richer.”This unique selling approach is highly affordable. Roughly speaking, a pair of speakers runs $200, an iPod dock runs $49, and an amplified in-wall local source runs $125. Add a nominal cost for speaker wire and installation, and you’ve got a slick demo that doesn’t break the bank.Find Your Digital Path
Believing technology is important, as the aforementioned CEA-NAHB study found, doesn’t make it easy. The complexity of choosing and installing home technology systems and products has always been the biggest hurdle for homebuilders, and it remains so. Low-voltage integration of consumer electronics products requires specialized skills, especially when dealing with proprietary technology platforms, rapidly changing technologies and user preferences, and the unique programming and configuration models many systems employ. Acquiring these skills-either by partnering with a local electronic systems contractor (ESC) or hiring your own talent-can be expensive and time-consuming. The builder just wants it to be profitable.
The current slowdown is giving us all a chance to reconsider, reflect and reboot what we do and how we do it. Right now is the time for the builder to consider this: What kind of technology offerings do my potential homebuyers want? Once you definitively answer that question, you can build a new, updated strategy from there-before you make any investments that may or may not be as focused and efficient as they should be.Homebuyers in 2009 are far more sophisticated about technology than they were even five years ago. Smart phones, multi-room entertainment systems, networked PCs, HDTVs, iPod docks, GPS systems and powerful universal remotes, among other products and concepts, have changed the way homeowners and homebuyers view technology. It’s no longer considered a convenience or a luxury to be “connected.” It’s now a lifestyle necessity. It’s something people expect, and it’s something that can and should be profitable for homebuilders.Identify what homebuyers care most about. Is it security, entertainment, energy management, convenience? A newly married twenty-something couple is probably going to get more excited about streaming music from their iPods all over the house, while a five-person family might want a dedicated home theater for movie nights and the ability to monitor security cameras from any TV in the house. Get a good sense of your target demographic’s needs, and explore and build your technology strategy and options from there.In-House or Partnerships?
One way larger builders are adding technology integration services is by hiring ESCs. These professionals often are members of the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the main trade association for ESCs, which provides them training, certification and education. Both CEDIA and the CEA both offer a wealth of educational information for builders that includes best practices for technology installation.Ideally, every builder would be able to employ one or more in-house ESCs who could control the customer experience and installation process. Unfortunately, not every homebuilder has the resources to expand in this way, so long-term partnerships with reputable ESCs are the next best option.The worst nightmare for a builder is to hire an unfamiliar “tech guy” at the homeowner’s request who comes in, does the electronics and wiring installation, collects his check and is never heard from again. The builder is often left holding the bag, but unfortunately is simply not equipped to troubleshoot any sort of A/V or electronics systems issues. Homeowners don’t want to hear this, however.Before working with any independent ESC, demand that the ESC will be responsible for all follow-up service calls. The builder must be certain that the ESC will provide support over the long haul; if not, the installation should not proceed. By building a strong partnership with an ESC, the builder will gain a loyal and trusted A/V specialist on call who can provide punctual, effective service, rather than always scrambling at the last second to find someone to consult or, even worse, leaving it in the homeowner’s hands. Fortunately, collaboration between CEDIA, CEA and NAHB is at an all-time high and each trade group provides resources for pairing up homebuilders with ESCs on a local level.Involvement early in projects allows the ESC to plan progressively not only with the builder but with the other trades in order to avoid costly and unnecessary changes to wiring, closet/outlet placement and other things that can affect electronics installation and performance.Regardless of whether services are contracted or offered in-house, it’s wise for builders to have an understanding of “good, better, best” technology solutions for their customers. By offering coherent and appealing electronics packages, you can better keep on-time and on-budget. Avoid customization in all but the largest luxury homes, where price is secondary to the homebuyer and the sky is the limit.Whether through an in-house staff or a partnership with an independent ESC, home builders need to find the technology models that work best for them financially and logistically. Ignoring technology is no longer an option when dealing with today’s homebuyers. Fortunately, those of us in the electronics industry are willing and able to help builders get where they need to go. We’re willing and eager to do great work for you-both in your upcoming projects, and to help you sell your existing inventory.

Increasing Personal Productivity

When it comes to achieving your goals, one of the best things you can do is to increase your personal productivity. People who get more done in a day aren’t exactly smarter than everyone else, they just know what to focus their limited amount of time on and cut down on things that waste their time. These people are simply just more efficient. When you become more efficient, you will produce more and that in turn will allow you to achieve more.There are lots of ways to improve personal productivity like having a list, prioritizing it, and checking the tasks off as you complete them. Here are some other things you can try as well.Schedule a set amount of time during the day to work on your most important task. Many times, the thing that we have to do most is the thing that we least want to do. In order to ensure that we get it done and not procrastinate on doing it will be to set a specific time where you will do nothing but that task. Typically, you want to set a time in the morning. After lunch, as you know, can be a tiring time to work on anything important.When you are actually working on this task, you want to make sure you get rid of all disturbances. That means, put your cellphone on silent, let your phone calls go to voice mail, and inform everyone around you to not interrupt. By doing this, you will have a solid hour or 2 of focus time. This will allow you to finish what you need to do efficiently because you won’t get side tracked or lose focus. With other tasks that are of less importance and don’t require much concentration, you can tackle that while doing other small tasks at the same time.Increasing productivity isn’t exactly rocket science but it does take a little bit of experimenting. Some things will just work better for you than others. For some, having this focus time won’t work since they need interaction and movement to get things done. What you want to do is measure your results in order to find out what’s working or not. You can do this by simply keeping time of how long it takes you to do certain tasks. When you find one way of doing it helps you get it done faster, stick with that strategy.

How to Get a Mortgage With Bad Credit?

If you have a great credit rating, you won’t find it difficult to get a mortgage. Almost every lender will be more than happy to serve you. On the other hand, if your credit rating is low, you will face a hard time getting a loan to finance your new home.

Your credit reports and credit rating is quite important for creditors to find out if you are a good or bad candidate for a mortgage loan. Aside from this, the assessment of your creditworthiness allows lenders to get a better idea of the amount of money they can lend you with confidence. In other words, this can assure that that you will make the payments on time.

The credit reports and scores will help a lender know if you have paid back your previous loans without any missed deadlines. If you have had a lot of late payments, or payment delinquents, chances are that you have a poor rating. The mention of any of these can be a red flag to your prospective lenders. Since the goal of the lender is to make lots of money, they may take you as a risk.

Unfortunately, if you have changed your habits, they will still review your past to get an assessment whether it will be a good idea to do business with you. Similarly, if you have a credit score in the range of 750, the lender will still consider your debt usage. If your reports show that you have taking loans quite often, they may find it a bit too risky to grant you a loan.

First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time homebuyer, getting a conventional home loan with poor credit rating can be a bit hard nut to crack. However, it’s not a goal that is impossible to achieve.

Tips to Qualify for a mortgage with Bad Credit

Given below are a few tips that you can use to improve your chances of qualifying for a credit rating. If you follow these tips, chances are that your application will be approved.

1. Make a Larger Down Payment

First, if you don’t qualify for a non-traditional loan, you can wait for a while and save money to make a larger down payment. The problem is that lenders consider borrowers with a bad credit score a great risk. Generally, lenders are willing to grant loans to lenders who can make at least 20% down payment. Therefore, if you can pay that much as down payment, you will be able to qualify.

2. Reduce Your Debt Usage

If you have poor credit rating and you are trying to get a loan, we suggest that you reduce your overall ration of debt-to-income. This ration allows a lender to figure out the amount of money you can afford.

3. Use Your Rental History

In most credit reports, you can’t find information about the user’s rental payments. But if you can, you can prove that you made all the payments on a consistent basis over the past 24 months. Aside from this, some other reporting tools can also. They may include RentTracki, Rental Kharma, and Rent Reporters, to name a few.

Before you go for a tool, we suggest that you do your homework to find out about the monthly charges and fees. Aside from this, you should find out if your private data can be protected and the steps you need to do if you cancel the service.

Keep in mind that these tools provide reports for only big credit bureaus. However, you can also find some that can send their reports to all of them.

4. Explain Your Circumstances and Credit Rating

Another good way is to write a letter to explain your situation. In the letter, you should mention the reasons of your negative points on your credit report. And you try to convince the lender that the mistakes won’t happen again.

Also, you should assure that that you are trying to handle the situation you are in. For instance, you can help them realize that you are looking for a job. Before talking to the lender, make sure you get documents to spell out the credit challenges you have been facing. Aside from this, if you can spell out the derogatory items on your credit history, you may be in a better position to get a mortgage.

When taking to the lender, make sure you are specific. You shouldn’t be afraid to provide details of your concerns and needs. This will save you from a lot of headache down the road.

Conclusion

Long story short, if you have a bad credit score but you are still looking for a lender to give you a loan for your first home, we suggest that you follow the tips given in this article. Make sure you also discuss the matter with your mortgage specialist or mortgage broker.