Making Your Model Home Memorable

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There is no such thing as bad publicity is something that you always hear, but we use the word memorable here as a positive description.  Nobody wants to be the example that their competitor uses to explain what NOT to do.  The idea here is to distinguish your model home from the others that the buying public visit.  We’re talking about WOW! vs. Ye Gads!

First, you need to know your market.  Who are you selling to?  There are lots of different styles and aesthetics.  You’ve already made some decision as to which category of architecture you want to appeal to.  OWN IT!!  I once worked for a West German (yes it was the 80’s and there were both East and West Germany) window and door company.  My German sales manager told me to go back to America and explain to stupid Americans that double hung windows were crap.  They should buy German tilt & turn windows because they are better.

Well, while I loved the engineering excellence of German window hardware and the function wowed me, that strategy while memorable didn’t work.  My friend, the sales manager, had no idea that Americans and Germans had completely different purchasing habits and focuses.  I explained it to him this way.  Germans go to buy a car and look at the technical specifications of the engine and suspension system.  Americans buy a car based on how it looks including whether the seats are leather and heated.  Most important might be what colors it comes in.  I know it makes us look shallow, but in our world of glitz and glamor, if the shoe fits wear it.

If you are in a region of the country like the southwest then you might make yourself memorable by building Cape Cods.  Each style of architecture has its own advantages and suitability to the climate.  Designs don’t grow out of regions for no good reason.  The lesson here is that there is some risk in being too radical.  What you don’t want to do is be memorable, interesting and loaded with traffic who want to see but not buy.  While we are all drawn to look at the car wreck on the side of the road, none of us wants to be the wreck.

Once we get into the model, American shoppers are often fixated on surfaces and finishes.  That is why models are staged with appealing furniture to help visitors to quickly imagine how livable the space is.  It also gives scale to the rooms.  If a room has an odd shape, the empty room would likely pose a nervous dilemma for anyone trying to imagine where the king-size bed would go.  If a talented designer stages the room using a clever layout, no such worry crops up.

Similarly, kitchens need to have all the optional upgrades like stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and premium cabinets installed.  Bathrooms again need to show beautiful tilework, jetted tubs or whatever other options work into the space provided.  So far, I haven’t given you any keen ideas that you and your fellow builders haven’t already thought of.

To be memorable you need to surprise the visitor with something that they have never seen before or something used in an unexpected way.  The builder’s special, cookie cutter house has the obligatory 6’0” x 6’8” sliding patio door leading out of the kitchen or den.  A more daring and more expensive builder might show a French door.  More drama can be added to this by increasing the size, especially in the width.  A 12’ wide opening of glass makes the room feel brighter and larger because the room is not so separated from the lawn or patio beyond.

As a guy who makes Folding glass doors, I like the idea of taking that 12’ opening and putting a 3-panel door in that large opening.  One of the end panels can become a typical entrance door while on nice days you can open the whole thing up removing any semblance of limit to the room.  You might be surprised at how few home buyers know that this option exists for mere mortals.  The operation is dramatic, the result is awe-inspiring, and you might just have introduced an option that makes your model home memorable.  If you are interested in more daring door options, check out more of our website at 

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