In a conversation with a real estate professional at a recent national convention, I was told an interesting story. This agent was working a builder’s model home one afternoon when a couple in their late 50’s stopped by and spent some time touring the home.
As they returned from the second floor, the sales agent asked “So what do think? Isn’t this a nice home?”
“We definitely think it’s a nice home, but we’ve already been living in it for 20 years,” the woman answered.
As the agent looked at her with surprise, she continued, “We bought this same home from this builder about 20 years ago. As much as we’ve enjoyed it, we’re ready for something completely different. Sure, there are a few changes here and there, but I can’t believe he’s still building the same old design.”
The reality is that this builder is definitely not alone in his love for old time-proven plans, but there’s an important distinction between “time-proven” and “time-worn”. While historic detailing and finishes continue in their popularity, out-dated floor plans and design details do not. In my opinion, the best builders are dedicated to building homes that reflect the best of the past, but also include the latest design features along with materials, systems and equipment that will ultimately deliver the greatest overall value to today’s home buyers.
For example, homes that provide high levels of energy efficiency, consideration for the environment as well low maintenance costs also bring greater value in the long run. Another key to building greater value can be found in designs that meet our customers’ needs today and offer the flexibility to adapt to changing lifestyle over time.
One example of adapting to changing needs is building homes in conformance with the principles of Universal Design. This includes features that make homes accessible for those with limited mobility or confined to a wheelchair.
Another example is a concept I refer to as “the home that grows”. What we’re talking about here is a home that’s designed and built with the intention of growing over time to meet the changing needs of it occupants. Additions to the home could be made to provide for a home office, extra bedrooms and baths, or possibly a suite for aging parents or other relatives. To make this work, homes will have to be designed from the beginning to allow for sensible additions. These homes would also need to be located on the building site in such a way that future additions would not encroach on required setbacks or violate other zoning or building regulations.
Smart builders will recognize that building homes that truly meet prospective buyers needs and in the process, deliver greater value for their customers’ investment, is essential to long-term success. Not only will more sales result, but greater profits can be realized since the costs of the home are relative to features and details that customers perceive as important and valuable.
Smart builders will also recognize that no one is better positioned than a well-established real estate professional when it comes to understanding what home owners desire most in their homes. As a Certified New Home Specialist™ it’s important to remember that helping builders deliver the right products at the right price is just one of the many powerful services we can provide to assure their success.