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October 25, 2019

The Big Squeeze on Housing (and what builders can do about it) Part 1

Question for the builder readers: Do you feel like your business is being squeezed?

On one hand, your buyers want more but can afford less. Armed with ideas and images from HGTV, Houzz, and Pinterest, these internet “design experts” are quick to dismiss your tried-and-true plans as dated and move onto the next builder. Of course, the Pinterest experts usually have no idea how much their must-have features cost – but that’s our problem, not theirs!

On the other hand, you as the builder are burdened with higher costs ranging from regulations, land, and labor. To add insult to injury, these higher costs aren’t being shared with re-sale homes, making your new home offerings look even pricier. Rock… Hard place… You know the deal.


But it’s not all doom and gloom! Recently, at the Housing Giants Leadership Summit, hosted by Professional Builder, I laid out our four-part strategy to help combat The Big Squeeze. In a nutshell:

  1. Add Value
  2. Reduce Costs
  3. Enhance Streetscapes
  4. Track your Lineup

This week, we’ll focus on a quick list of compelling features that add value to your customers and to your competitive advantage.

Part 1: Add value – from the consumer’s perspective

If your houses could make buyers’ lives easier, wouldn’t that be a powerful sales tool?

Daily Lifestyle Solutions™

How do you decide what to incorporate? Let the buyer choose! Create flex zones that allow buyers to select these pre-priced solutions.

Casual Lifestyle Living:
Critical square footage saver that optimizes the spaces that buyers are looking for – we make this possible by leaving out the singular living dining rooms. Buyers don’t want to pay for rooms they don’t use.

“Splurge” on the Kitchen

Entertaining kitchens with large single-level islands (bat wing peninsulas and boomerang islands are not welcome here!)

That’s pretty much common knowledge at this point, so how can we take our kitchens to the next level? Some features to consider:

  • Messy Kitchen
  • Bigger pantries
  • Second refrigerators

Spa baths
Take cues from hotels: Forget the tub – enhance the shower
Hang mirrors vertically – add lights on the side

Minimize circulation
Buyers don’t want to pay for hallways. Make plans live larger by consolidating square footage and creating long sight lines.

Outdoor Living
Three functions: Cooking, dining, and lounging
Think beyond the drip line of the house – use the entire yard!

Flexibility and Dual-Use Rooms
Spaces that adjust to the ever-changing needs of the homeowner.
Study, bedroom, kids retreat, snore room

Focusing on what the home buyer values and doing away with rooms that no longer serve them allows builders to deliver a home worth aspiring to. Next week, we’ll take it a step further by exploring how we can unburden ourselves from unwanted costs that hinder sales.

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters