A Boomer Place to Be

Homebuilders can maximize customer experience at 55+ developments by focusing on authenticity, community, and service.

By MATT SAULS AND DEBORAH BLAKE

Boomers have been around the block a few times and they know what they want. Delivering the right kind of lifestyle communities for today’s boomer buyers requires elevated community placemaking and experiences. Here are three ways 55+ builders can deliver an exceptional and authentic community.

Know your buyer

To deliver excellent customer experience to boomer buyers, builders must offer a comprehensive and compelling package based on both lifestyle and home.

Research shows that young boomers seek open, single-story floor plans with windows, large backyard patios, substantial storage, and opportunities to personalize. As such, you often see the same floor plans no matter where you go, whatever the site’s location, based on decisions and operations on national data on consumer preferences.

However, while staying on top of trends is vital, there are limits to this broad-stroke approach. While it’s important for builders to create communities consistent with their brand, they should allow individual neighborhoods to take on the character of what’s special about that particular location and the buyer profile who lives there.

This boutique and curated approach is proving successful at Altis, an innovative new 55+ lifestyle community development in Beaumont, California. The customer-first approach is based on the strategic development plan of Pardee Homes’ parent company TRI Pointe Group that incorporates the key concepts of vitality, adventure, connectivity and style. Taking those brand pillars, which are unifying forces, and adding that special “local sauce,” Altis delivers a new lifestyle community that appeals to an active and sophisticated buyer through thoughtful, modern and environmentally friendly design – things buyers in Southern California want.

To further serve the needs and aspirations of its 55+ consumers, Altis buyers have access to an advanced design studio to help them customize their ideal space. Residents are provided with features and options that sync with their unique sense of identity and style.

Build more than a home, build community

Builders should think about customer experience before there are customers or a community.

Altis’ take-charge approach emphasizes the social lifestyle part of the community before building begins. Prior to its community opening, the Altis team initiated a series of group meetups so potential homeowners could socialize, have fun and learn everything they needed to know about buying and living at the new active lifestyle community.

For instance, Altis offered pre-community opening meetups that included wine tasting in the Temecula Valley; an architectural Bike Ride for the Modernism Week celebration of midcentury architecture, design, and culture; a guided hike in a nearby nature preserve in honor of Earth Day; and more. This allowed potential buyers to get a taste of what Altis could offer.

Offer a lifestyle

Builders who provide boomer buyers with robust social calendars that cater to diverse interests can cultivate a strong community and strengthen the overall customer experience.

At 55+ communities, a lifestyle facilitator is a must, serving as the most connected person in town. Energetic, compassionate, and a great listener, the lifestyle facilitator listens to the dreams and passions of prospects and residents and is ready to help boomers do what they want to do and ultimately live their best lives. Future residents have big plans for a life well lived; the lifestyle facilitator should provide a kind of concierge service with unprecedented access to experiences, experts, and other residents that share similar interests.

Thoughtfully designed, consumer-centric amenities are also critical to the success of 55+ communities. Tapping into experts in fitness, wellness, food, healthy living, lifelong learning and more brings relevant, meaningful, and compelling amenities to residents.

For example, at Altis residents can enjoy The VuePoint, a 16,000-square-foot residents’ club that serves as the epicenter of the community and offers nearly 3,000 square feet of additional exterior covered patios. It offers many events to enrich the lives of Altis residents, offering everything from cooking demos, happy hour games, hikes, paint and sip events, and mix and mingle events with live music.

There are approximately 77 million baby boomers in the U.S. Each year, many of these boomers become buyers. After raising families or living in larger homes, they now want more than a generic home. They demand authentic experiences, new ways to enjoy life and strong, built-in communities. Builders who think beyond the norm in their design and planning will be successful in attracting this thoughtful generation.

Matt Sauls is Vice President, Marketing and Product Development for Pardee Homes’ Inland Empire division.

Deborah Blake is founder of The Ipsum Group and consultant for Altis by Pardee Homes.

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