Saturday, June 11, 2011

ARE MODEL HOMES A WASTE OF MONEY FOR MODULAR BUILDERS?

Time and time again as I travel the country, I see model homes being used to sell builders' wares.  Some are found at the entrances to the builder's developments while others are free standing houses with large signs in front announcing that "you too can own a house like this!"

But are model homes really necessary today?  The answer is probably not.  There will always be a need for a model home here or there but many builders and developers are finding them a high priced overhead.  In the case of the modular home dealer/builder, it isn't necessary any longer to put up a village of homes to entice the buyer into their web.

I'm starting to see very good looking "model home/display rooms" taking over the territory that was reserved for 3, 4 and more different models.  A model village is remenisent of the double wide street dealers that would stock 10 to 20 different homes and if a buyer wanted one, they simply bought the lot model, had it delivered and set on a lot and lived in it a couple of days later.

So why do modular home builders think that they must display all the different floorplans available to the buyer that they can simply put up a couple of model homes and successfully stay in business?  The bottom line answer is that they can't.

A much better way is for a modular home builder to create a display room/business center that shows everything the builder can supply from the factory along with options and unique floor plans.  Think of the display center as a living, breathing website.  Page after page of truly wondrous things for the new home buyer to see and consider in their new home.  3D renderings and CAD drawings to look over, colors and styles to choose from and upgrades to consider.
Fischer Homes Sales Center


Ironically, I’ve seen some insanely and expensively decorated models that are nowhere near what the buyer is actually buying as those upgrades are not included in the “typical” home. To me that misrepresents the “true” finished product far worse than a computer simulated model that EXACTLY represents the finished product.

Just like the website, the buyer should be able to explore the basic information of the display center without too much interference from the sales rep or builder.  

What the display center looks like depends on the builder.  Some will want it to look like a home and that's OK.  Others will be able to utilize an empty storefront, but whatever the builder uses, none will be successful if they aren't clean, sharp and well maintained.  They must have fresh literature, floorplan spec sheets and current options  available.

With new home sales still struggling to get out of the basement, this might be a great time to think how you want to present your homes to the new home buyer.

2 comments:

William said...

With today's advanced computer/virtual reality technology the need for a physical model as all knows them has been virtually eliminated.
It is past time the modular industry invested in this techology to create virtual model homes. And as the technology continues to evolve/improve it will be increasing more economically feasible for manufacturing entities to develop these for members of their distribution network and their own use.
The virtual models can be housed in the builders office, or from an on or off site location.
And of course the virtual models can also be domiciled on a user friendly web site.
There is so much talk about social networking that a virtual model is the next logical step.
Can you imagine being able to show all models in the companies design collection and allowing the customer to walk through every room, allowing them to change not only decor colors but PERSONALIZE the home to their own needs/taste/desire WITHIN the programed limits set by the manufacturer.
They can even price a home if the manufacturer and builder wishes to go that far.
I think the timing is perfect to enter the next realm of marketing and sales for the modular industry. Let's see who is willing to take the first step.

John Haddad said...

A single model home makes the representation of what you build. If you have a two story colonial, this is what people will desire from the builder. This is the same with ranches and cape cod models.

While I was at Penn Lyon, I tried to push for a product show room to sell to builders wanting to take the next step and get out of pick up truck selling. I was a salesmen so I knew little to nothing about marketing. The marketing man in charge at the time was "working" on it.

I feel show room selling is the best if all of the samples were current and were available to the builder. In addition to showing all of the options, Builders can show large format photographs of interiors and exterior of the homes.