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Catering to the Smaller Housing Market

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The average square footage of a single family home as nearly doubled in the last 30 years. Despite this trend towards larger houses, there is still some strong interest in smaller homes. Parents who find their nests empty are often downsizing to smaller, more manageable houses. First-time home buyers are often leaning towards an affordable home that will gain equity. While both of these populations are seemingly seeking smaller homes, they are still participating in the bigger-is-better culture by seeking the appearance of a bigger home.

In marketing to these specific groups, there are a few key selling points to keep in mind. Empty nesters are looking for comfort. Although they are downsizing, they still want the spaciousness of their old home. For this population, there are three key features: the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. If these rooms are too small, they will likely not be interested in the home. When designing the home, be sure to cater to the needs and gender prejudices of this population. Women often prefer two separate dining areas, one for more formal occasions and the other to serve as a breakfast room.

Since houses are frequently designed by men, women often do not get to weigh in on the features that are most important to them. While some generalizations are applicable to the majority of the housing population, builders often miss the opportunity to develop houses for specific niche markets. Conducting market research prior to designing a home will reveal your target demographic so you can build houses that meet their specific needs. Doing so may increase sales by making you a builder of choice among this population.

The expectations of first-time home buyers are typically much more realistic than other populations due to budget constraints. This buyer is most likely just leaving an apartment and has little money to purchase a home with. Rising costs of land are presenting a challenge to builders who seek to offer affordable housing. Builders are redesigning homes and placing them on smaller lots to accommodate these changes. With a little creativity, you can still offer first-time home buyers a great product.

One way to reduce costs is to make certain standard features options that can be added for a fee. Saving $100 on each of 10 features can reduce the cost of the home buy $1000. Handrails, cabinet hardware, and countertops are examples of some of these options. Buyers can always add or upgrade these features at a later time when it may be more affordable to do so.

Ultimately buyers want to feel like they are getting value for their money. Making them feel like you have their best interest in mind will increase sales and confidence in your brand.