There is a veritable geyser of data tracking housing today. From existing-home sales, to house prices, to new-home permits, to starts—housing metrics abound.
Remaking your past bestsellers
Designs that were popular during the housing boom will probably need some fine-tuning to make them appeal to the current market. By updating plans, builders can also trim the fat and save money.
Designs that were popular during the housing boom will probably need some fine-tuning to make them appeal to the current market.
Updating a perennial bestseller
One of the top three sellers in the Dickinson Homes collection is the Hartford model. Since it was introduced by the Iron Mountain, Mich., builder in the mid-1990s, the Hartford has been tweaked on an annual basis in response to feedback from customers and salespeople. Project manager Mario Santoni says the most visible changes have been made to the front elevation.
The original Hartford was a straightforward ranch with a 4/12 roof pitch. Taking into account the latest design trends and building products, Dickinson’s in-house architectural and engineering departments have modernized it with a higher roof pitch, a covered porch, different window sizes, and decorative gables.
Over the years, Dickinson has made a number of customer-driven alterations to the plan, adding a first-floor laundry room and expanding the master bath to include a separate tub and shower, a double vanity, and more linen storage. Interior features such as a living-room fireplace and built-ins were added, and the garage increased in size. The overall square footage also increased, from 1,600 to more than 2,000 square feet.
“It really has the minimum number of interior walls that are needed; we try to keep it very open,” Santoni says. “Our big tag phrase is value engineering — no wasted space and no products, items, or materials that aren’t necessary.”
10 Ways to Refresh Floor Plans
1. Get rid of rooms that are no longer important to buyers, such as formal living and dining rooms.
2. Add popular amenities, such as pocket offices, island kitchens, and drop zones.
3. Make the kitchen work well for entertaining as well as cooking. Expand islands to incorporate additional seating.
4. Take out some of the hidden costs that buyers don’t appreciate. “Ask a buyer whether they’d rather have an extra hip-and-girder set in their roofline or granite countertops,” says Deryl Patterson, a partner in BSB Design’s Jacksonville, Fla., office. “I think you know the answer.”
5. Re-evaluate the spaces between rooms for such potential uses as a butler’s pantry, bulk-storage closet, curry kitchen, or pet-care station.
6. Connect the laundry room to either the master bedroom or master bath with a hallway entrance to serve the rest of the family.
7. Eliminate the soaking tub in the master bathroom in favor of an oversized walk-in shower.
8. Include a “snore and more” room — a den/study or secondary bedroom with direct access from the master bedroom. Active adults, in particular, appreciate this feature.
9. Freshen up the street scene with a new elevation.
10. Pay attention to outdoor living areas, from the front porch to the side and back yards. In other words, demonstrate to buyers how you’re utilizing the entire lot.