A man basically born into the business is sharing his knowledge on how to become not only an award-winning builder but also sell homes.

“We’re on top of the wave. We’re ahead of everyone, and we want to keep that momentum,” says Chad Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Pepper Viner Homes in Tucson, Arizona.

Chad Williams Born Into the Building Business
Williams’ father built homes in South Carolina, so he grew up working in the industry when the idea of a connected home was a phone line. Now, after running his own business in Georgia and then joining Pepper Viner in 2004, he’s giving out iPad minis as part of his standard package.

“They used to not have dishwashers come with houses. Now, would you go buy a house without a dishwasher? You don’t have to have it to have a home, but you’re expecting it,” says Williams. “Well, the technology is going to come to that as well.”

Evolving with the TecHome Trends
With that mentality, Williams was instrumental in helping to introduce energy efficiencies and then connected devices at Pepper Viner. The company has been honored by the energy department and is now a five-time Southern Arizona Homebuilder’s Association builder of the year.

“I could not wrap my mind around the technology, how and what we should use, and so when I went to the TecHome Builder show, within three months we implemented Clare Controls as a standard feature in three of our communities,” says Williams.

Along the way, Williams learned a few things he’d like to share …

Williams’ 5 Tips to Build By
Look at the entire home, not individual components, as they all need to work together. William starts with building sciences as soon as the floor plan is designed and that includes tech.

Keep purchasing department and yourself reading industry newsletters like Techome Builder and TecHome X to see what trends are coming down the pipeline.

Ask the community what it’s looking for in smart home technology. They’re constantly blasted with TV commercials and get lost in it all. It’s your job to know the latest in technology and explain it to them.

Make sure sales staff is educated on what products and features your company is offering. This includes having them use the products themselves. For example, Williams’ sales team uses Clare Controls on their iPhones to show clients.

Stay connected with the real estate community and realtors, because they are huge on technology. Everyone is trying to get a technological advantage on their peers, and realtors influence this. Pepper Viner staff attends realtor events, sends email blasts and is even involved in charity events with the real estate community.

Pepper Viner techTecHomeX to Rally Realtors
Williams says realtors can make a big difference when it comes to selling homes, “These are trade partners that are out there that don’t know or understand what technology is, ‘I’ve seen it on TV. What does it do? Why is it going to change my life?’”
This is one of the reasons he’s excited about TecHome’s newest event TecHomeX—a first-of-its-kind expo that’ll gather the entire ecosystem of players who deliver today’s smart home. That includes realtors who will come together with builders, systems integrators, remodelers, electrical, HVAC, appliance, plumbing, irrigation contractors and more.

Williams is especially eager about building these connections, considering his latest communities have been 100 percent sold by realtors. It’s usually 50 percent realtor sales. He realizes as the technology in Pepper Viner’s homes becomes more advanced, builders, like him, will have to count on realtors to understand tech to sell their homes.

1563 Elev A Pepper Viner’s New Communities Offer Tech as Standard
Williams needs the support of the entire TecHome ecosystem, as he and his team are taking the idea of the connected home even farther in Pepper Viner’s newest entry-level communities that will be marketed to Millennials.

The subdivisions, Park Modern and The Schoolyard, are both opening this month. They’ll include RTI home automation systems, smart thermostats, alarm systems, smart locks, a WI-Fi router and an iPad mini to control the smart home as standard.

“We’ve been working with Apple, and all of the homeowners will get an iPad mini. We will put all their documents and contracts on the iPad mini, and when they move in the home, that iPad mini will be able to control the home through the RTI app,” says Williams.

The sales offices will also have a large TV screen display. Sales associates will use an iPad to control it and show off the community’s features.

A TecHome Inspiration
Williams latest community plans have been inspired by TecHome events.1457 Elev D

“It’s the reason we came to terms with tech. When we came to the very first event, we had an idea we wanted to do x, y, and z, and we got tons of information, made lots of great contacts with people. Like I said, within three months we got with our integrator and challenged him.”

And Pepper Viner and Williams aren’t yet finished challenging themselves and the trade partners around them. First it was energy efficiency, now home automation and soon they’re looking toward TecHomeX as an opportunity to launch a new, even more technologically advanced, part of their business.