We have a retriever that loves to run around a nearby lake made by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. She especially loves to roll around in the bait and any dead fish left on the banks of the water. The smell…
When we get her home, it’s bath time—no big deal if the temperature’s above 40 degrees—but when it’s cold, we bathe her in one of the bathtubs or showers. Unfortunately, we have a two-story home and all of the tubs and showers are upstairs on the second floor with the bedrooms, which means picking up the stinky, wet, dirty dog and carrying her to an upstairs bathroom. The struggle and the mess!
Oh how I wish we had designed a rear foyer with a pet center, complete with storage for pet food and other supplies AND a doggie shower! What a convenience to have everything right there and not have to traipse through the house. When it comes to pet centers, there are many ways to design. The photo above shows a pet bath, while the photo at left shows a pet shower. With a larger pet, the shower may be more ideal than an elevated shower for getting her in and out. Also, think about storage needs – bathing, brushing, food, treats, leashes, etc.
Keep in mind, a pet center isn’t just designed for a dog, a cat or other pet needs a place for their stuff, too. And, that shower is handy for rinsing off after working in the garage/yard or dirty kids or equipment/toys!
For more on designing with your pet in mind, visit our resources library for “Home Design Dogma, Creating a Pet-Friendly Home.”
Recent studies by the National Association of Realtors® and Zillow reveal about 90% of new home buyers are using the internet in their search process. In fact, the internet has replaced real estate professionals as the #1 source of information for today’s home buyers. Whereas before, new home shoppers talked with family, friends, co-workers, and agents about various home builders as part of their information gathering process, and then visited numerous builders’ model homes – today much of that search happens online.
Now for the bad news. Prospective home buyers are ruling you out based on your website. Like most other builder websites, you probably have some beautiful photos, a portfolio of home plans to review, a list of communities and/or available home sites, a couple testimonials, and an “about us” page. Perhaps something on your website piqued her interest…but how did her visit to your website make her feel about your company?
More specifically, why should she buy from you? “We’re a family-owned custom builder that’s focused on quality and customer satisfaction,” you say. She got the same message from half of the other builder sites she visited. At this preliminary stage, most prospective buyers are simply looking to save time and minimize the risk of choosing the wrong builder – especially with some of the horror stories out there surrounding other home buying experiences.
We suggest something along the lines of a “Customer Bill of Rights” or, as in the following example, a tailored version of The 10 Commandments. For such a large purchase, prospects will take a couple minutes to learn what to expect if she chooses you.
The bottom line: builders tell us this approach works, and we can help you make it work, too.
Contact us today!
“That was a neat couple,” you think to yourself, watching those prospective buyers driving off. You hammer out the last few keystrokes of your first email follow-up/thank you, playing over in your mind their comments about the different builders’ model homes they had visited. What would they remember about you? About your home? Were you noteworthy?
With a Promotional License from Design Basics, you receive the rendered elevation and floorplans to use as you see fit in your marketing and promotional efforts. Available for every plan, Promotional Licenses are just $25 each (or FREE, upon request when ordering plans directly from Design Basics). Printing up notecards using the front elevation artwork and writing your personal message is decidedly old-school, yet tremendously impactful! Handwritten notes are rare (someone actually took the time to write it), and repeating back a few key points shows you were listening to these prospects’ needs and desires. The rendering…your message…in the format of a handwritten note sent through the mail…that’s one way to stand above everyone else’s email follow ups!
But don’t limit using Promotional License home plan artwork to just your model home. For $200 you could add eight new home plans to your plan portfolio and attract a wider audience of buyers. And don’t limit your use of Promotional License home plan artwork to just note cards. Those renderings are perfect for brochures, website, social media and blog posts, yard signs, and MLS listings.
Great Design Matters!
Nestled between the Wasatch Mountain Range to the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west, and stretching from Salt Lake City north to Ogden, Utah, Flint Custom Homes builds homes on some of the most picturesque homesites anywhere in the country. This area, known as the Wasatch Front, is home to 80% of Utah’s growing population and has attracted numerous production home builders, whose viability depends on volume of homes built. With a graduate degree in accounting, owner Steve Flint recognized a different business model could work—delivering one-of-a-kind custom homes to home buyers who would not be satisfied with tract housing. According to Flint, “We rarely build the same home twice.”
Those production builders now own or control most of the available land, Flint reported; therefore, Flint usually builds his $500,000-$2,500,000 homes on homesites his clients already own. More recently, that has meant building on the backside of the Wasatch Mountains as well.
A second-generation builder, Flint learned construction firsthand on jobsites from his dad. Then, when he was old enough, he went to work for their framing and finish carpenter. Steve loves construction and is proud of the craftsmanship that shows in every home he builds. That was evident early on, which caught the eye of Scott and Michelle Blain, who purchased one of Flint’s homes that had been built on a “spec” basis. A few years later, the Blains had Flint build them a custom home, which went so well that Michelle went to work for Flint in 2004.
“I’m a walking testimonial for Flint Custom Homes,” Blain said, continuing, “That’s so important in my working with each of our clients.” Blain understands custom home building from the client’s perspective and essentially sees her role as the client’s advocate, educating and guiding buyers through the entire purchase and home building processes. According to Steve, “Michelle’s got their backs.”
The team of Steve Flint and Michelle Blain introduced a Woman-Centric approach to home building along the Wasatch Front. Flint remarked, “Men don’t think like ladies. For example, our sub-contractors are guys and our women clients appreciate a strong female voice that can direct the subs.” Flint Custom Homes embraced Design Basics’ Woman-Centric Matters!® program, which provides keen insights into women’s preferences in the home. “I talk with every one of our clients about our Woman-Centric approach, and our buyers ‘get it,’” said Blain. “For example, I introduce the drop zone idea with its storage and convenience when coming in from the garage, explaining to our prospective buyers that they already have one, but it’s probably their kitchen island!”
Click here for more about Flint Custom Homes and see beautiful photos of their custom designs!
Learn more about our Woman-Centric Matters!® program.
The John Burns Real Estate Consulting Group recently reported that for 2016, median new home prices were 35% more than the median price for resale homes – much higher than the 10%-20% new home price premium of the 1990s and 2000s. So, how do you answer the question, “Why should I buy a new home, now?” More importantly, how would your sales representatives answer that question? Would each and every one of their answers be consistent, comprehensive, and position your home(s) in the best possible light?
Obviously, buyers purchase homes for varying reasons based on their own self-interests. But in addition to whatever their top motivations for buying a home, one of the tools your sales team needs is a thoughtfully worded handout of some of the most common and compelling reasons for buying one of your new homes. While you will want to tailor the information to your specific business strengths, the following are all items to highlight.
- Interest rate risk of waiting: 30-year fixed rate mortgages are forecast to be a full 1% higher by the end of 2018 compared to the end of 2017 (longforecast.com). A $250,000, 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate (APR) is $148.51 less per month than at 5% APR.
- Escalating construction costs: The average new construction home in the first eight months of 2017 sold for $313,250, compared to $302,300 for the first eight months of 2016, a one-year increase of $10,950 (U.S. Census Bureau data and FRED Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).
- Stiffer building and energy codes combined with product advancements mean cheaper utility bills and lower homeowner insurance rates, further reducing your total monthly housing costs.
The financial implications are often the first aspect looked at, but there are lots of other reasons to look at new construction rather than an existing home, including:
- Quality of construction. More stringent building codes are just one of the reasons today’s homes typically offer superior quality compared to older homes, making your new home more pleasurable to live in.
- Design flexibility. Some things that just aren’t feasible to change with resale homes, like garage size, ceiling heights, wider doors, or open, entertaining floorplans.
- Product choices, advancements. When building new, there’s a gamut of products to select from in making your home uniquely yours, based on what’s important to you—such as quieter and safer products…high technology…healthy alternatives…new construction is a hands-down winner!
- Avoid maintenance hassles and cost. New homes are typically lower maintenance due to the products used. Composite decking, tilt-in clad windows, and laminate flooring, all give you back a little more time. Then there’s the risk of expensive repairs associated with older homes such as replacing worn-out appliances, roof shingles, carpet, and furnaces.
- Energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Homes built today are as much as 60% more energy efficient than homes built 20 years ago, contributing to a more comfortable home. Your energy efficient new home can help prevent the release of tons (yes, TONS!) of greenhouse gasses per year, while helping conserve our energy resources. Advanced building products such as engineered wood and recycled product choices such as carpet made from discarded plastic water bottles further help protect our environment.
- Don’t settle for less. Finally, one of the most important reasons for buying new is getting exactly what you want in your new home.
While you’re planning for your new home, take a look at our resources page for information about home building and design. Resources
It’s uncanny how prospective home buyers equate better design with better homes, and buyers want to buy the best!
Of course, how would-be buyers experience your home needs to be better, too. We use the term ‘Hidden Assets’ to describe amenities that may be over-looked or under-appreciated. Soft-close cabinet hardware is a big advantage – if buyers know about it. Quiet bathroom exhaust fans are hidden assets unless people turn them on. A doorless walk-in shower may be impressive, but explaining there’s no door to clean elevates the desirability of this amenity.
Nothing tops well-trained salespeople who are as eager to listen to the customers as they are to demonstrate the home. Akin to a pull-out kitchen wastebasket drawer, pull-out recycling bins will be appreciated; but explaining to buyers that the location of those recycling bins, next to the kitchen sink, is ultra-convenient because most recyclables need to be rinsed out first is better than a recycling bin in the garage. This location also eliminates water spots that would otherwise show en route to a recycling bin elsewhere in the home.
A large glass block window over a soaking tub is aesthetically pleasing, but calling attention to glass block’s inherent privacy, eliminating the need to add window coverings and the associated hassles of reaching over the tub to close the blinds, makes you ‘the builder who really understands how people actually live in their homes’.
Great Designs + Great Customer Experiences = More Referrals
According to sales strategist and author Tom Hopkins, “Referred leads are six times more likely to buy from you than non-qualified leads!”
One way to address bringing attention to the hidden assets is by using tasteful signage; especially if your home will be shown by agents who are not familiar with the home. Builders that are members of Design Basics’ Woman-Centric Matters!® or Builder-Centric℠ GOLD program have access to hundreds of different Hidden Asset Circles to effectively point out and communicate such amenities. Find out more about these two proven programs by clicking on the links above.