Retail Trends Cross Over to New Homes

Builders should display a curated selection of options onsite while utilizing digital methods to show the full range of what is available 

By Linda Mamet

The housing business is making a major shift in its approach to attracting new homebuyers. By utilizing sophisticated model merchandising, engaging design-studio environments, and a more effective implementation of online tools and social media, builders are getting to the heart of the buyers in their markets.

We are in the midst of a fascinating convergence of digital and physical channels. Potential homebuyers now begin their searches online in order to prioritize what they are looking for in a new home. After finding a desirable community online, they return to the internet to conduct more research. Therefore, it behooves builders to provide enough information on their digital sites to attract and retain buyers.  Builders can solidify that initial attraction by making online tools available in sales offices.  This allows buyers to examine a site map or reconfigure a floor plan at the site. For those buyers who prefer to create their dream house from home, the online tools builders provide on their digital sites allow them to do just that.

Today’s buyers lead busy lives, allowing them less time to find what they truly want in a new home.  They need meaningful and helpful information to be provided to them from the beginning of their search for a new home.  Buyers want to be able to easily access information about homes and communities so they can compare their choices and come to an informed decision.  Once the buyer decides on a floor plan, the builder should provide examples of the most popular variations and/or options for that plan.

The idea of cluttering garages and spare bedrooms with carpet and tile samples has become obsolete.  Buyers still want to personalize their homes, but now they are looking to builders for examples of how they can achieve their dream look. Builders should display a curated selection of options onsite while utilizing digital methods to show the full range of what is available.

The approach that TRI Pointe Group’s six premium homebuilding brands take to customizing new homes is a perfect example of how this can be accomplished.  Their interior designers shop at well known stores like West Elm and Pottery Barn and in so doing make it easy for buyers to purchase the items they want. Pardee Homes, a member of the TRI Pointe Group, has even collaborated with Bobby Berk, the celebrity Millennial designer, whose work strongly resonates with young home buyers.

Contemporary architecture has become widely popular.  This trend runs parallel to the influence of retailers on the current housing market. Klif Andrews, president of Pardee’s Las Vegas division, reports that in the Las Vegas market, 75 percent of the furnishings for sale either online or in stores are contemporary to modern. The immensely popular retailer Restoration Hardware even has its own modern furniture line.

In the minds of consumers, contemporary architecture, furnishings, and finishes are all part of the same package.  Consumers appreciate this seamless approach to home design so much that it motivates them to consider buying a new house.  The contemporary homes of today combine indoor and outdoor space in such a way that the homes are flooded with natural light.  The homes have clean lines and simple color palettes and incorporate rustic and hand crafted materials.

Andrews believes that Las Vegas is a good fit for contemporary design because buyers are not influenced by the deeply rooted traditional architecture found on the Eastern Seaboard. The Pacific Northwest has always had a strong modern design aesthetic as well. By this time next year, 75 percent of Pardee communities in the Las Vegas market will offer contemporary elevations. These elevations are selling approximately 50 percent better than the more traditional designs.

Pardee complements contemporary home designs with modern countertops, flooring, backsplashes, and plumbing fixtures.  Freestanding tubs that look nothing like the old clawfoot tubs have become popular in these homes.

Contemporary home design isn’t just for Millennials. Baby boomers who have owned more traditional homes are now looking for something fresh and different to inspire them.  TRI Pointe Group is rising to this challenge.

Linda Mamet is Vice President of Corporate Marketing at TRI Pointe Group. She may be reached at Linda.Mamet@TriPointeGroup.com.

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