35th Anniversary Featured in Strictly Business

35th Anniversary Featured in Strictly Business

Design Basics, LLC (www.DesignBasics.com) has reached an exciting milestone as the company celebrates 35 years of delivering innovation and leadership through creative home design, marketing, and business transformation solutions, while protecting their right to do so, maximizing value for their customers.

Design Basics began in 1983 as a custom home plan design firm for professional builders in their local community, Omaha, Nebraska. Over the years, Design Basics has expanded their offerings to include a wide variety of home plan designs, plan alteration services, and professional marketing products and services as well as keeping a focus on custom home design. Design Basics’ home designs can now be found throughout all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and other countries around the world.

Read more: Strictly Business Feature

The Power of Story

The Power of Story

“It’s raining in the basement!” shouts my 10-year old son, looking up from his video game. Upstairs, our 13-year old daughter is lying on her bed, talking on the phone. The laundry room sink, where she had been washing delicates is still running…and still overflowing! And that the laundry room is on the second floor, with all of the bedrooms. I rush home to standing water and white mush, which used to be kitchen ceiling drywall, soaking into and through the wood kitchen floors. Carpet…pad…walls…floors… ceilings…all saturated. My wife arrives home, crying, “We’re going to have black mold!” A water remediation specialist deploys massive fans. Our brand-new dream home, so meticulously planned, was flooded. Oh, did I mention we had moved in just F-I-V-E days prior?

You weren’t there. In fact, that event happened over 15 years ago. Yet, I’m betting you felt my anguish. Such is the power of story. Uri Hasson, a researcher at Princeton, claims a story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience (Harvard Business). We actually see ourselves in a good story, and it turns out our brains are wired that way.

So, you better believe there’s a story behind the humble laundry room drain. And if that’s true, isn’t there a story behind almost everything in the home you’re selling? Facts and figures (3-bedroom, 2 ½ baths, 1,800 square feet), and even bulleted feature lists activate left brain functions where we “think in words.” But story activates both the left brain’s logic and the right brain’s feelings and imagination. Neuroscientists have discovered brain chemistry is partly responsible. Story triggers the release of oxytocin, associated with good feelings, emotions, and in particular, empathy, allowing us to connect with the story. A second brain chemical, dopamine, is also released as we engage in story. Dopamine helps in focusing our attention, aiding memory, and pleasure.

Photo by Skyloft Photography

Simply put: information educates; story sells. You’ve heard the expression “buyers buy on emotion and then justify those decisions rationally.” Story is the key. And how we tell those stories matters, too. A story we’ve personally experienced, such as my water event, are charged with emotion and believability. As such stories educate, and become memorable, we can help shape buyer’s opinions, especially with regard to the desirability of certain aspects of a particular home. Walking in from the garage, there’s a drop zone on your left. Sometimes, story is simply triggered by a question – “When you arrive home from a long day and your hands are full as you come in from the garage, where does everything end up?” Inevitably they answer, “On the kitchen counters/island/table,” which leads to your story about the drop zone. To your right is a pet center complete with elevated shower for small dogs. Simply having an adorable stuffed beagle there begins to tell the story. A couple of potted plants nearby tells another story – it’s a gardening center!

At the risk of overstatement, your success in new home sales hinges on your prowess as a storyteller. This is where your team becomes so important. Make an event of walking through the home together, in particular identifying things you do or offer in the home other builders don’t, and then share your thoughts/experiences/stories regarding those things. What you learn from each other will help you develop your storytelling. Similarly, as you tour prospective buyers through the home, certain amenities may trigger the buyer’s own stories, some of which will become gems you’ll retell.

As you consider new home designs to offer, think too about the stories they will tell. We can help. Call us when you’re looking for that next hot design and we’ll talk with you about some of that home’s inherent stories. Even better, have a Design Basics; storyteller come spend a morning with your sales team, walking through your model home(s), identifying and rehearsing stories to sell!

Great Design Matters: Homes By Brian, Inc.

Great Design Matters: Homes By Brian, Inc.

Leinart home plan #29336

He’s never had another job. His father has been in construction for over 50 years. In fact, Brian Lantz started working for his father in home building when he was just 10 years old! In 1988, Brian went out on his own, founding Homes By Brian, Inc. The secret to his longevity is simple. According to Brian, “Quality and personal touches pay off.”

Based in Schererville, Homes By Brian built 10 homes last year in Northwest Indiana. That’s a good pace for Lantz, whose quality reputation hinges on his personal involvement. Lantz’s degrees in civil engineering technology and construction engineering are evident in the company’s homes. For example, some builders simply dismiss cracks in garage floors, stating “concrete floors are just going to crack.” But prior to pouring the garage slab, Lantz floods the gravel and sand base with a couple inches of water to aid in compaction, thus minimizing the likelihood of future cement cracking. He heats and dehumidifies his homes prior to drywall application to reduce the chance of drywall problems later on. In addition to both gluing and screwing the floors to eliminate squeaks, Lantz screws the subfloors along with screwing the walls down to the floor, further reducing the potential for squeaks.

Lantz’s personal involvement extends to doing all his own client meetings, bidding, scheduling, and even the materials take-offs. He stakes his own houses and spends the day onsite each time a new homesite is being excavated to spot any soil issues. Throughout construction, Lantz visits each jobsite two to three times per day.

“I like working with Design Basics’ plans! I know what to expect and can ballpark a price pretty easily. And I encourage my customers to look at Design Basics for plans for their new home,”  comments Lantz.

Lantz is also his customers’ single point of contact, helping ensure clear and consistent communication. There is no other salesperson; he meets with all prospective buyers and clients in his home office.  Customers aren’t assigned to a foreman, either; Lantz personally works with each customer from beginning to end, even attending his own closings. He also works with his customers on modifying plans to get them the design that’s “just right.” Lantz lives in one of his subdivisions among many of his customers-turned-neighbors and friends. And, he has even vacationed with some of his customers.

Northland home plan #2322

Not surprisingly, this high level of personal involvement has resulted in tremendous positive word-of-mouth, the #1 source of new customers for Homes By Brian. The company has never used traditional media advertising nor even been listed in the phone book. Rather, Lantz has always found that his yard signs are effective marketing and more recently, if he’s had a spec home, he holds open houses in that home on Sunday afternoons to meet potential clients and answer all their questions. Lantz wrote his own website but conceded the company’s Facebook outreach to his son.

Customers’ personal experiences building with Lantz have resulted in 13 different clients whom he has had the pleasure of building two houses for. It often becomes a family affair as well. Lantz built four homes for one extended family and five homes for another. He has even built a couple homes for second generation customers – adult children whose parents first chose Homes By Brian for their new homes.

Click here for more about Homes By Brian Inc. and see beautiful photos of their custom designs!

(Cover photo: Ashton home plan #2203.)

Home Plan Promotion

Home Plan Promotion

Now that baseball season is in full-swing, we invite you to ‘round the bases’ and ‘score’ our latest design amenities! So, in honor of the first official World Series played in 1903, we are offering $115 off a home plan purchase when you complete our All-Star Amenities survey! In addition, just for completing the survey (no purchase necessary) you have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Don’t strike out – be sure to participate today!

Official Rules:

  • Access the survey below and ‘score’ (rate) your favorite amenities at each field position.
  • To receive $115 off your home plan*, you must complete the survey to access the offer code.
  • One (1) entry per builder/company or homebuyer for the Amazon gift card drawing (no purchase necessary); winner will be chosen at random on or around June 18.
  • Call to place your order by Friday, June 15, 2018, at 5:00 pm Eastern. Phone: 800.947.7526

Play Now!

*To take advantage of our All-Star Design Amenities promotion, you must click on the ‘Play Now’ link above and complete the survey to receive your offer code. The $115 discount offer applies to the purchase of full construction prints only (PDF, sets, or CAD files), and does not include study sets, dimensional plans, or Construction License only orders. Offer cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount program. Please contact us at 800.947.7526 if you have any questions.

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