Last Thursday, August 16, I had my structured wiring and security meeting with CSS. Toll subcontracts those things to CSS, so I met with CSS directly, and Toll will roll the final amount into my mortgage, and charge me a 20% down payment just like they do for all options.
I had seen the "menu" of options and their prices, so I knew walking in that their options were 3 - 7 times over priced before I even walked in. I'm a technical person, and I've pulled cable through finished houses before, so I know what the cost per foot of Cat 5 cable is, etc. I told the representative that, and he at least shot straight with me from that moment on.
Standard, the house comes with 2 Cat 5 drops, (Cat 5 can be used as either phone or data), 3 coax drops, all of the exterior doors contact sensored, 1 keypad, a siren and 1 motion detector. I had priced out 3 additional Cat 5 runs, 2 short HDMI and 2 long HDMI runs, an extra keypad in the master bedroom (in case I forgot to set the alarm before going up to bed) and a 5.1 pre-wire only in the basement. I was hoping that since I have no need for coax drops that I could exchange them for the 3 Cat 5 runs that I want. (Every tv now comes with HDMI standard, so there's no use for coax. Coax is only used from the cable source, to the cable box, and the cable box will be in the basement, so literally, those 3 coax drops are a waste) Even though the Cat 5 and the coax drops are b oth priced the same at a ridiculous $175 per, the guy said that due to their contract with Toll, he couldn't let me exchange them. Even though I don't see a difference since Toll would be paying them the exact same amount either way, apparently Toll figures that if something goes wrong and they have to sell your house to someone else, they want their standard of 2 Cat 5 and 3 coax to be in place.
So, that's $525 that I spent on Cat 5 runs, that in my opinion, should'be been swapped for the default coax runs, thus free. I had been considering having all of my first floor and basement windows contact sensored ($850), and getting a monitored smoke detector ($195) and I would've done it without hesitation (despite the fact that those prices are still rape) if I had that $525 to apply towards it. The representative gave me a week to consider if I wanted this to be my final order. I'm leaning more towards adding the monitored smoke detector since it doesn't add to my monthly monitoring cost and will help with my home owner's insurance. The windows being contact sensored, well, did I mention the houses are really close together, like 15 feet close? I'm thinking on the bright side, the houses being that close together is a deterrent to burglars. Who knows though, I'm still weighing my options.