When starting a remodeling or new home building project, perhaps the most ambiguous budget for many homeowners is the technology budget. Your builder, architect, and/or interior designer can quickly estimate what a new kitchen, electrical contract or landscaping will cost. When it comes to technology, the budget is a little tougher to ballpark because there are many variables to consider.
Technology systems can run the gamut from very basic systems to fully automated homes. And, deciding what technology you really want or need isn’t always easy. Here are some budget guidelines:
Typically, in a major remodel or new home build, the budgets for technology systems range from 4 – 8% of your home’s value. This excludes lighting control, motorized shades, and home theater systems. For a lighting control system, figure between $4 – $7 per square foot if you are controlling most of the home’s interior and exterior. The upper range is for a hardwired system, the lower range of the price scale includes wireless lighting solutions. For home theater systems, your budget can be anywhere between $10K and $1M+ depending on your desired level of performance.
Here are 3 key tips to get a handle on your home technology budget:
Divide Technology Systems into Bite-Sized Chunks
The first glance at a technology budget might knock you off your chair. Remember though that it typically encompasses many different systems, therefore costs can add up quickly. Here are the technology systems you should think about as separate budgets:
- House music systems
- House television systems
- Home theater or surround sound systems
- Home Automation or “smart home” home control
- Surveillance cameras
- Wi-Fi/home network system
- Lighting Control
Do Not Skimp on the Network / WiFi System
Most of our communication (email, internet, enhanced cell phone reception), video and audio content is coming from the data network, and this trend will continue. Today’s home typically has as many connected devices as a business – often 50+ devices. We recommend strongly that you invest in an enterprise-grade network for your home. These systems, and others, are typically business-grade products that have a higher level of security, speed, and reliability than inexpensive big box store devices. If you are going to splurge anywhere, splurge on the home network.
Do Not Underestimate the Role that Technology Plays in Your Life
Surveys have shown that most Americans would rather temporarily lose electricity or running water than their internet service. This says a lot about the role that technology plays in our lives. We spend a lot of money building beautiful pools, gyms, formal living spaces, and other home improvement projects that in reality get fairly minimal use by our families. Technology is touched constantly by all members of the family…daily. When implemented correctly, there is no aspect of our home that will impact our enjoyment of where we live more than its technology systems. The reverse is also true. A home that has a poor technology implementation is a source of constant frustration. We suggest that you consider shifting some budget dollars from lesser-used rooms or features to the most used technologies in your home. Your family will thank you for it.
This article includes content from an article authored by The Home Technology Association