Orleans Homebuilders has a new arrangement with Philadelphia-area electronics retailer HiFi House in which home buyers can opt for audio and video systems during the design center phase and have the new gear ready to go the day they move in.

Linda Kelley, vice president of sales at Orleans, says what makes the deal work is that HiFi House agreed to sell the equipment at the same prices found in the company's retail stores. Home buyers are even encouraged to go to a HiFi House store and compare costs.

According to Kelley, Orleans gets a percentage of the sale—a deal similar to any other standard new-home upgrade, although margins vary by product—and HiFi House hopes to make money by registering high-volume sales. The electronics systems are on display at the home builder's 8,000-square-foot design center in Bensalem, Pa., about three miles from its headquarters.

“We sell 800 or 900 homes a year through our design center,” says Kelley, who adds that the arrangement with Orleans lets HiFi House get in front of buyers who wouldn't normally be available to them. “Some of the buyers spent over $200,000 on home electronics. They put plasma screens everywhere,” she says.

BIG EASY: Buyers of Orleans' homes can opt for a HiFi House home theater that's ready to go the day they move in.
BIG EASY: Buyers of Orleans' homes can opt for a HiFi House home theater that's ready to go the day they move in.

Paul Sandquist, president of HiFi House's Jenkintown, Pa., store, says that although his company has worked with home builders for many years, this new marketing arrangement represents a different way of doing business.

“Most builders prewire and have their customers come back after they move in,” says Sandquist. “Now, the builder is offering home electronics as part of the house.”

The standard package runs from $12,000 to $15,000 for a plasma TV with a surround sound system. Home buyers can choose from a Fujitsu or Pioneer Elite TV; the base system is a Marantz surround sound receiver and a Marantz CD/DVD player. The price of the surround sound system varies based on which speakers home buyers select in HiFi House's “good, better, best” format. Speakers are installed in-ceiling, on-ceiling, or in-wall.

Audio systems start at $3,000 and run up to $25,000 for an eight-zone Crestron receiver. Buyers can also choose a six-zone Sonance system and a wall-mounted Sonance iPort, which lets them play an iPod through their home stereos. If a home buyer wants a device that's not on the standard Orleans list, Orleans can arrange to special order the item through HiFi House.