Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Packages Save Buyers Bundle
Car dealers do it. Travel agents do it. Even the kids’ school photographers do it. But home builders?
|The Décora Galore package from Zale Homes features a certificate from Toms-Price, a suburban Chicago furniture store, a fireplace/entertainment center and a design consultation.
Car dealers do it. Travel agents do it. Even the kids’ school photographers do it. But home builders? It’s the old-fashioned package deal, and one suburban Chicago home building company has a new take on it.
Zale Homes in Buffalo Grove, Ill., has just begun to offer options upgrade packages -- including everything from appliances to granite countertops to furniture -- all at a significant discount to home buyers.
The idea was the result of several brainstorming sessions led by Zale Homes president Leon Joffe. The planning group found that buyers were often interested in several of the luxury options Zale offered before the program, but had to forego some upgrades due to expense. For instance, a homeowner might have always dreamed of a luxury whirlpool tub, only to find that all the extras -- high-end faucets, an elegant vanity, separate shower enclosure, etc. -- that complete the look are not included in the budget.
With the company’s Journal of Upgrades program, prospective buyers’ most requested upgrades are bundled together, saving buyers over a thousand dollars in some cases.
"This is a very similar concept to what the automobile industry has been doing for years-offering packages at lower prices. It’s a great opportunity for homeowners to have the upgrades they want, but never thought they could afford."
In the company’s Inverness at Gregg’s Landing in Vernon Hills, Illinois, a community of single-family homes base priced from $340,400 to $377,600, home buyers can choose from five different option packages, each with a complimentary gift basket: Chef’s Package, Décor Galore, Ooh La La, Earth Friendly and Suds ‘N Duds.
|The Chef’s Package features granite countertops and undercabinet lighting, and the complimentary gift basket contains the makings for a gourmet pasta meal, complete with serving spoons and festive napkins.
The Chef’s Package includes granite countertops, undercabinet lighting, a Moen one-touch faucet with pull-out spray and an undermount sink. Purchased from the Zale Journal of Upgrades, homeowners will spend from $6750 to $10,200, depending on the model and floor plan they choose. According to Jan Roberts, manager of the Zale Design Center, the bundle prices offer significant savings over buying each item separately-from $730 to $1596.
The Décor Galore package, starting out at $6500 and going up to $16,300, features a Toms-Price Furniture certificate, a fireplace/entertainment center and one at-home design consultation with a design professional.
Ooh La La is a luxury bath upgrade with a whirlpool bath, Monticello chrome and brass faucets, raised vanity top and bowls, one-piece toilet, chrome/clear glass shower door and hot water heater, for a price that’s just around $6000 for each home, for an average savings of $700.
With the $2800 Earth Friendly package, any home in Inverness at Gregg’s Landing can be equipped with a humidifier, electronic air cleaner, digital thermostat (all from Honeywell) and a security system.
For $1500, the Suds ‘N Duds package comes with a Kenmore washer and dryer, laundry cabinets and a laundry tub. Although still in its infancy -- the program started in July in one community and will be modified for use in two other Zale communities down the road -- Roberts expects this is something that will drive upgrade sales. "What we’ve done is geared packages for the Gregg’s Landing, upper-end market, but we’ll offer slightly different packages in other communities. It’s going to be interesting -- one buyer went for the Ooh La La already, but we’d like to see people go for two or three [packages]."
And that, says Joffe, is where the real savings come in. By purchasing more than one package, homeowners not only get the luxury upgrades they want but they also save a bundle.