While more and more of our digital life is becoming wireless, wireless solutions continue to be plagued by signal strength issues and download/upload speeds. In a room over a garage finished off as a home office space, a Design Basics customer recently reported intermittent signal losses and average download speeds of only 2-4 Mbps, compared with 50 Mbps throughout the rest of the home. The solution was wiring an Ethernet connection in that space – not an easy task after the home was built.
Whether it’s HD video or the latest multi-player online games, for stationary applications, hardwired Ethernet is preferable to wireless connectivity for dependable performance and to get the most from your entertainment and computer systems. Ethernet provides another important advantage, low voltage power for your device can be run over the same Ethernet cable so you can eliminate additional electrical wiring and those bulky AC transformers.
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More and more products for the home can be monitored and controlled by an App. Some are for convenience, such as an app for your coffee maker; while others are for your piece of mind, like Roost’s family of products.
Roost’s Smart Smoke Alarm has advanced features, such as a Wi-Fi connection. Powered by a Smart Battery (see below), alerts are sent to your smartphone via the Roost App. Depending on which model of smoke alarm you choose, alerts for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and/or natural gas detection are in the palm of your hand!
Water and Freeze Detection Alerts
Toilets, bathtubs, and sinks that overflow…water heater tanks that rupture…washing machine hoses burst…such “contained water leaks” in homes (as opposed to flooding due to heavy rains) cost insurance companies more than residential fire damage. Sure, insurance can help with repairs and replacement costs, but you’re responsible for the deductible and then there’s all the disruption and the associated hassles. Roost’s Wi-Fi enabled Smart Sensor detects water leaks and sends an alert to your smartphone (and family and friends’ phones) so you can address the problem before it becomes catastrophic. In addition, should temperature and/or humidity in your home fall outside predetermined levels, the battery-powered Roost Smart Sensor will alert you to these dangers as well, helping you avoid damage from freeze or excess humidity.
Wi-Fi Battery and Alerts
If you’re tired of being startled awake to smoke detector “chirps,” the Roost 9 volt Wi-Fi battery is great technology for standard smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Roost sends “low battery” alerts to your smartphone to call attention to the need for changing the battery. But you won’t get those alerts very often, as the Roost battery lasts five years (then just replace the lithium battery pack). Everyone at work/school? Roost sends emergency alerts to your smartphone as well as family and friends’ phones.
To learn more, visit: www.getroost.com
(Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes only; we do not formally endorse any product or service.)
In May, my son graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in marketing. As a high school senior, he set a national sales record for one of North America’s largest electronics retailers. The kid is smart. But when it came time to purchase a new car last weekend, he and his fiancée (who also has a business degree) were novices. Not that they hadn’t researched vehicles online. Not that they didn’t know what was important to them in a new vehicle. Not that they didn’t know what they could afford. It’s just that neither had ever purchased a brand-new vehicle. Rebates or lower APR? Extended warranty? Rustproofing? “Sport” edition? Price negotiation? Then there was the high-pressure sales tactics…
Similarly, how many of your prospective home buyers took classes in home design, home building, or buying a new home when they were college students? With such a monumental decision, how do you help buyers choose you?
Listen…and build rapport. The first salesperson my son met couldn’t wait to demonstrate the vehicle. He quickly identifed the model he thought would most interest this young couple, then spent quite a bit of time showing them the many features. This was followed by the customary test-drive during which the sales person spent most of his time texting.
I’ve met new home sales pros who likewise want to get right to touring visitors through their model home. Most are superb at highlighting the hot-button amenities. But people want to buy from someone they like, someone who cares about them, someone they can trust, and that takes time getting to know them and listening to what they want.
Edu-sell. Price is always important, but selling via lowest price is both difficult and lazy. Difficult, because there are only so many corners you can cut, so many suppliers you can bully into dropping their price. Lazy, because the consumer doesn’t have to think and the salesperson doesn’t have to deal with educating the customer, quality, or other “intangibles.”
The salesman who won my son’s business quickly established rapport over their mutual admiration for Apple products. He segued that into introducing Apple Car Play, found in some of their vehicles. He took the time to discuss all-wheel drive options, various trim levels/options, and what was included, such as explaining the pros and cons of leather seats.
New home buyers don’t know what they don’t know. Your ability to modify standard designs; delightful new amenities prospects didn’t even know existed; product upgrades ideally matched to their priorities; these are all ways to empower buyers to make the best decisions, within the budget they have established for themselves, making you their advisor who has their best interests at heart.
Make the process easy, fun, and (relatively) stress-free. For my son and his fiancée, their salesman turned car shopping into a process of discovery. The vehicle they ultimately purchased was not even on their radar screen initially. From the big touch screen display with back-up camera, to the “Vehicle Protection Package,” to sorting through the business office/finance options, this dealership understood how to respect their customers.
Your homes are designed. Your home building system was designed. Your customers’ new home purchase experience should be designed, too. Looking at the purchase experience through the eyes of the customer is the place to start, rather than what’s efficient for you. Concentrate especially on the areas which can be stressful (e.g., finalizing the design, product selections, and the purchase agreement). Above all else, focus on clear communication, because ambiguity is no one’s friend!
Author: Paul Foresman, VP Business Development, Design Basics, LLC
Sometimes placement of the laundry room presents a unique situation for venting the dryer. Maybe your vent needs to run up before it can exit the home. This can cause energy and safety problems as lint can become trapped in in the vent and more frequent cleaning is needed. Introducing a ventless dryer!
The new breed of ventless clothes dryers not only use less energy, they also eliminate the need for a dryer vent. Even if you are disciplined in cleaning out the lint filter regularly, dryer vent hoses/pipes typically clog over time, lengthening dryer cycles, wasting power, and shortening the life of your dryer. Some vent hoses snake around the home’s framing and are very hard to clean out, a leading cause of the 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported annually (U.S. Fire Administration). Whirlpool’s HybridCare™ True Ventless heat pump dryer offers a large, 7.4 cu. ft. capacity and dries clothes in about the same amount of time as the company’s traditional vented models.
For more information, visit: www.whirlpool.com
Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.
It’s just common sense, there’s a reason every time you wash your hands. Yet prior to each wash, you’re grabbing the faucet handle – that collector for all of the previous bacteria and germs you needed to wash off! Auto grease…raw fish and poultry…chemicals…what residue has built up on your bathroom and kitchen faucet handles? Touch-activated faucets to the rescue, such as Delta’s models with their Touch20® Technology. Simply touch anywhere on the faucet spout or handle to turn on and off. The faucet will deliver the same settings (flow rate and temperature) as the previous use. Powered by six AA or six C batteries, LEDs around the base flash red to indicate low battery; or choose the optional AC adaptor.
For more information on touch-free faucets, visit: www.deltafaucet.com.
Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.
Eureka! You’ve just stumbled upon one of the most obvious advantages your homes offer that’s not found in other builders’ homes. Once they know, customers will beat a path to your door! But before you commit to that advertising campaign, let’s see what we can learn from Apple.
In the age of Sony Walkman personal CD players, Apple introduced the iPod, which could hold a lot more music than a single CD-Rom. Apple capitalized on that benefit with their slogan, “1000 songs in your pocket.” The advantage was obvious…and enormous!
Yet, according to marketing/branding guru Alessandra Ghini who was working for Apple on the iPod at that time, “the tagline failed to take the iPod mainstream.” Apparently, storage space wasn’t the point. As reported in Fast Company, Ghini’s team asked owners, “Why do you enjoy the iPod?” Consumer feedback centered around the emotions music can evoke from each listener. Ghini’s team refocused iPod advertising on the now ubiquitous human silhouettes enjoying their music, and another chapter in the annals of Apple’s success was written.
Holding 1000 songs was a factual benefit of the iPod. Yet, in that context, the appeal was limited. Apple’s home run came with tapping into buyers’ emotions surrounding using the product, specifically music’s ability to affect/enhance our mood.
Now, let’s return to that new amenity offered in your homes. We’ll use the Travel Center in the owner’s suite closet as an example. Properly staged, a Travel Center is obvious and easily understood by your model home visitors. But will it actually sell more homes? That depends on how those model home visitors feel.
Stories are a powerful way to tap into buyer’s emotions. “You know, I nearly broke my ankle when I tripped over the suitcase in my closet.” Or, “I love the travel center because everything’s ready, right there, for an unexpected trip.” Asking, “How do you see yourself using the Travel Center?” or to the frequent traveler “How would it make you feel to have everything for your next trip right here at your fingertips?” can help prospects envision living in the home and using the travel center.
Remember, buyers buy on emotion!
Most any plans with a walk-in closet can incorporate a Travel Center into the design, but here is a selection of plans with Travel Centers already designed: