Article
If you or someone you know has been looking to buy or sell a house lately, you likely know today’s real estate market is smoking hot. This is even more the case in areas were second-home ownership is high. Real estate transactions are continuing to reach record numbers even as many employers are beginning to call their workers back to the office following the COVID pandemic’s lockdowns.

New Smart Load Centers a Boon to Second-Home Owners – and Their Contractors

Chuck Ross
If you or someone you know has been looking to buy or sell a house lately, you likely know today’s real estate market is smoking hot. This is even more the case in areas were second-home ownership is high. Real estate transactions are continuing to reach record numbers even as many employers are beginning to call their workers back to the office following the COVID pandemic’s lockdowns. While this pattern certainly makes the homebuying process more difficult, the growing ranks of those seeking to manage a second home from a distance does offer new opportunities for electrical contractors. And, just in time, a new generation of smart home devices is making it easier for those contractors to provide that needed assistance.

According to the online realty agency Redfin, the number of mortgages secured in April for second homes were more than double pre-pandemic levels for that month – obviously, that figure doesn’t include the large numbers of second homes for which the new owners paid cash. And the rise in demand for second homes is more than twice the increase for primary homes.

Maintaining second homes when they’re not being lived in is a major challenge for their owners. Many end up hiring local companies to check in on those residences on a regular basis to make sure everything is running smoothly. But those house checks are like snapshots, and a whole lot of damage could occur between visits without some sort of alert system in place.

One new resource for providing those alerts is now showing up in a new generation of Wi-Fi connected electrical load centers that enable owners to track when specific circuits are operating – or not – and receive messages if any circuit breakers have tripped. So, for example, if the refrigerator circuit stops drawing power or a basement sump pump suddenly starts up, the homeowner can request their local contact to check in on the issue. The panels also allow owners to track electricity use overall and by individual circuit to help keep them aware of what their home is costing them whether they’re there or away.

These smart panel boards offer two great opportunities for electrical contractors. First, of course, there’s the sale and installation. The alert feature could be a great draw for a buyer interested in ensuring their new second-home investment stays in tiptop shape. And, because alerts and other messages also can be sent to third parties, there’s a chance these load centers could help build a contractor’s maintenance business, as well. As someone local, with the skill set to address any electrical problems the load center’s intelligence might flag, the contractor could become the owner’s valuable eyes and ears on the ground.
Photo courtesy of Leviton
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