editorial director

Denise Dersin is editorial director of Professional Builder magazine. Prior to joining Professional Builder in 2013, she served for 10 years as editor-in-chief of Hanley Wood's Builder magazine, leading many key editorial initiatives for the home building industry

New products offer a competitive advantage

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August 26, 2014

When home builders are asked which information they deem most critical to the improvement of their businesses, info about new products is always near the top of the list. And for good reason. New, improved, and innovative products can help builders save money, attract more customers, build better homes, increase safety on the jobsite, differentiate themselves from other builders, and much more. 

In recent years, though, new products have become more important than ever. Homebuyers have come to understand the considerable benefits of new homes, aided in large measure by new products and materials. Products such as those that confer energy and water savings, comfort and indoor air quality, and livability and accessibility.
 
It was not that long ago that existing homes were the biggest competitive threat facing new-home builders. Existing homes had a lot going for them: established neighborhoods, mature landscaping, charm, and in many cases, structural quality. 
 
But the tables have turned and new homes today have a competitive edge that existing homes can only try to match, and only then after spending a significant amount of money. Open floor plans, living spaces flooded with sunlight, comfortable temperatures for fewer dollars spent on energy, plenty of indoor-outdoor connections, hot water on demand—these are the features that today’s home shoppers are looking for.
 
And now it seems some homebuyers are even saying that they are willing to forgo the holy trinity of home-buying desirability—location, location, location—for some of the features that are most often found only in new homes.
 
In July, PulteGroup distributed some data from its newest Home Index Survey, which shows that 44 percent of adults would give up a location near public transportation, 35 percent would give up better schools, and 34 percent nearby entertainment and shopping for certain amenities they really want. 
 
And what are those amenities that are more important than better schools? Survey results from across the country show that the buyers queried want spa-like baths and kitchen islands. In certain regions, they are jonesing for outdoor kitchens and folding, accordion-style glass doors. 
 
Those are indeed some wonderful features, and in this year’s 100 Best New Products article, you will see a selection of products that will allow your baths and kitchens to capture the attention of even the most school-centric shopper. But there are others, too, that can help you to provide the best performance and durability that today’s technology has to offer.

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