What’s Important to Today’s Multi-Generational Buyers?

By Kay Green

Today, multi-generational living is the new normal. Are we maximizing our homes to target this growing audience?  And what are their must haves?

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Kay Green Design and Schumacher Homes were honored to receive a Gold National Award at the 2015 International Builders Show in Las Vegas for the elegant design and spectacular architecture of this outstanding home.

Multi-generational homes only work if each generation wants to use the space created for them, so when designing the home the question must be “will they want to spend time here?” Today’s buyers want it all; a large family room spacious enough to accommodate everyone for the weekend football game, as well as a separate retreat where family members can get away.

So what are their hot buttons?

Privacy is key

Privacy for each family member is a top priority, and enough space to buffer between the multiple generations is appealing.  Consider the location of the additional living space and its access point for maximum privacy. It should be from a low traffic area of the home such as a front hallway. For larger homes, a separate casita attached by a breezeway is idyllic, and regardless of the home size a separate entrance is preferred.

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At least one large gathering area

Having a space where the entire family can get together and connect is essential. The home’s central living space should be able to accommodate everyone, and ideally the primary dining space should be large enough to host every family member as well.  If space is an issue, an open concept kitchen provides the necessary common area for families to gather.

Balance the square footage to optimize functionality

The square footage of the home dedicated to the multi-generations, especially live-in parents, should be proportional with the home’s overall size. With a smaller home, a bedroom suite with an extended sitting area is a nice option. As the home grows, consider adding a separate, dedicated sitting area with a coffee bar to the suite. To further enhance the space, add a kitchenette and a private outdoor retreat such as a balcony or patio.

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Accommodate every generation

Master suites, man caves and fem dens are critical in a multi-generational home. They balance the use of space and create a nice retreat for the primary homeowners.  Creating multiple common areas allows younger generations to have their own space, providing peace for everyone in the home. This may be a study area outside the secondary bedroom for homework, or a bonus room with separate beverage stations for teenagers to hang out.

It doesn’t have to be on the first floor

With 55 percent of Millennials boomeranging back into the home, (read this article for some staggering statistics), lot sizes shrinking, and master suites growing, second floor multi-generational options must be considered. First floors have many demands placed on them, but with today’s move-in parents being more active and healthy, second floor living is a possibility. Or if needed, an elevator can improve accessibility.  With a master downstairs, the second floor living can accommodate the college kid or the twenty-something rebounders and provide the privacy both generations prefer.

Finish it right!

Many move-in parents invest their retirement dollars in the purchase of the home and their space should reflect this with size and finishes.  The quality of flooring, finishes and countertops in the secondary living space should be on par with the main living areas.  Giving the secondary living space the same level of detail as the main home sets the stage for family inclusion.

Live-in parents and returning kids alike want their own personal space, which provides a huge sense of relief for both generations. At Kay Green Design, we take a “whole home” approach to design and have been redlining plans and facilitating charrettes for our builders for over 40 years.  Please contact us for a free consultation on your upcoming home plans.

Merchandising Scenarios That Bring Buyers Back

Big statements combine merchandising and interior architecture.

Today’s most effective interior merchandising has more to do with collaboration than color palettes. Collaboration between merchandiser and architect during preliminary design is the most efficient, affordable way to create the distinguishing features that help make a sales.

To view the article, click here and turn to page 70

Targeting Your Buyer

Your model home is your company’s best advertisement – but who are you selling to? Knowing your target market is the key to success in the homebuilding industry. Each target market has specific lifestyle needs that must be conveyed to create a highly effective selling tool. Buyer categories are based on age of life and stage in life, and there are generalities for each group. In this article, I will focus on the hot buttons for first-time homebuyers.

First-time buyers generally live on a budget. Options, upgrades and furnishings should be carefully balanced to attract – but not overwhelm – buyers. Wall coverings and built-ins should be kept at a minimum to maintain an attainable appearance. The objective is to create an environment that is nicer than what they own now, but still within reach. Creative, “do it yourself” ideas are also perfect to showcase in entry-level models, including special paint finishes and basic carpentry. When given the opportunity, first-time buyers usually prefer to save money by tackling home projects themselves. Of course, there are exceptions to every “rule”. In some markets, million dollar houses are entry-level homes. The bottom line is that the furnishings, options and upgrades in every model should always complement the price of the product.

In terms of design, comfort and style are essential. These buyers look to Crate & Barrel, Target and Pottery Barn for the latest trends. First-time homebuyers are very accepting of color, provided that selections are made from today’s palettes – colorful artwork and accessories create a strong impact. The key in this market is current, popular style; these buyers watch the design shows and read the home magazines. They may have a budget, but first-time buyers still want “the look”.

Functionality is another key element for entry-level model homes. The spatial benefits of your product should be clearly demonstrated. What will the buyer gain from this purchase? Some first-time homebuyers are motivated by a desire to start a family. For these buyers, secondary bedrooms are generally merchandised as children’s bedrooms, and family eating and gathering areas are also emotional hot buttons. Other first-time homebuyers include singles and young professionals. For this particular market, secondary bedrooms should be shown as multi-purpose guest rooms, home offices, or television dens. Informal entertaining areas and breakfast bars are hot buttons as well. Gender specific marketing can be highly effective, but you must be extremely sure of your target market to avoid alienating prospects. Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you’re also selling the lifestyle your buyers want.

Quality merchandising adjusts to the lifestyle needs of each target market. Creating the ideal model for your targeted buyer is your best form of advertisement. An experienced merchandiser understands the importance of this marketing, and works with you to accentuate the benefits of your homes. In essence, we “package” your product to capture the imagination of your prospects – and the “trimmings” really do make a difference!