Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where Am I?

Model dining chair  1276Model Brown Dining  1280One of the things I spend a lot of time doing even when I am on "vacation" is visiting new communities and model homes. It is always an invaluable education and a way to track trends in different regions.The Frisco / Little Elm corridor of Dallas has had an incredible growth spurt so I decided to spend a pretty Saturday out there seeing what's going on. I visited probably 25 model in 10 or so communities and after the first few I couldn't tell you which was where or who the builder was. I took 100's of photos and from doing this a lot I've learned to keep notes on what order I visit the homes in because sadly, after awhile they all start looking the same.
Here are some tips and observations to make your homes stand out or fade in with the rest.
1. Attitude
I'm going to put that first, because no matter what the model looks like, if the home has a great sales person who promotes the builder they will become the memory point. One of the worst homes had the best sales person, and she made the best impression out of all of the homes I visited. I'm not going to tell you which community because any smart builder would try to hire her off, but it was a Meritage Home :) This community was in a closeout situation and the model was hopelessly dated and over-merchandised, but she was fantastic and I would trust her to sell me a home or refer her to any of my friends. Her attitude is what stood out and made the experience memorable.
2. Color
There is such a fine line between when color can help or hinder a sale. Not only does the wrong color taint the buying experience, if your homes are merchandised with the same color pallette as others in the area they are merely going to blend in. Amazingly I walked at least 4 models withing 2 miles of each other and they all had the same color palette -browns, rust and red. Even worse is that they were built years apart so if the merchandiser had walked the competition before deciding on a color scheme they woudl have realized they had a great opportunity to make their homes stand out from the competition.
Model Skii  1275
3. Theming
It saddened me to walk homes in master planned communities that the new homeowner would be paying HOA fees to that didn't relate in any way to the amenities they had to offer. One community was absolutely amazing, but when I walked the models they were beach, surfing, and snowboarding themed. Keep in mind we are talking about land locked Dallas, Texas. What could they have gone with? The schools, golfing, swim club, school activities... there was a lot to chose from. Model homes are there to help the buyer see themselves having a better live in their new home - show them how great theirs can be in yours.
Model Over merchandised  12824. Over Merchandising
Some builders (and merchandisers) believe that if there isn't something on every wall, and if there's a sq. ft of countertop without something on it the house isn't merchandised. Wrong! Many times consumers are living in clutter in their existing home and they want to move to have more storage so they can get out from beneath the clutter. We are selling and merchandising houses - not furniture or decors. This is a common mistake a furniture store will make because they are there to sell their merchandise and services.
There's more, but I think this will give you a place to start to think about why you should use a Lifestylist® to merchandise your next model home.

Friday, November 6, 2009

HomeAid and Shared Housing build Sweet Houses

SSF Cookies  1271Gingerbread Launch  1270HomeAid Gaylord03HomeAid Dallas is teaming up with Shared Housing Center this year to host "Home Sweet Gingerbread Home" at NorthPark Center in Dallas. There will be two separate competitions on which is the traditional contest where chefs will create their elaborate gingerbread houses in their kitchens and then bring them to NorthPark to be judged. This part of the event will be held on December 1st and the homes will be offered at a silent auction until December 3rd when they will go home with the lucky winners.

The other competition will be "Builders and Bakers". Ten celebrity chefs will team up with builders, Realtors®, and others active in the home building industry to create their gingerbread homes live at NorthPark on December 3rd. Celebrity Chefs will include executive or pastry chefs from Samar by Stephen Pyles, Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Texan, and Todd Events.

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber, Bob Cresswell - president of HomeAid/Homebuilders Care Dallas, and Sherry Turner of HomeAid/Homebuilders Care visited the Gaylord Texan to view in person the incredible display that Art Surman - Executive Pastry Chef of the Gaylord Texan created. Chef Surman will be participating in the traditional contest.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Sherry Turner at: Sherry.Turner@dallasbuilders.com