When Fulton Homes opens its Legacy Community in Phoenix this Fall, visitors to the design center will be treated to a unique interactive experience.

A 46-inch touch screen TV will enable potential buyers to explore more than 6,000 floor plan options, connect with Google Maps to zoom in on available lots, and register for a Fulton Homes account to save their selections. The interactive experience is made possible by Fulton Homes' in-house operations systems.

“We’ve got some talented guys in our IT department,” says Fulton Homes vice president of operations Dennis Webb, “Everything is in one database in real time, so when a selection is made, it’s made live everywhere.” Webb says the system has been operational for eight years, though continual revisions have modernized it and made it more user-friendly.

At the heart of Fulton Home’s communities, located in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area, is a 13,000 square foot design center that empowers customers to personalize their homes.

“We don’t think like builders, we think like retailers,” says Webb. “We’ve always been a believer in trying to figure out what our buyer wants and then give it to them. We look to the design center as an integral part of our whole operation. It’s become a profit center for us.”

The company’s focus on personalization and flexibility is a response to changing family dynamics. “It’s not the old days when you have a house plan and people worry about the lot. Now we look at the lifestyle of the customer first."

Specifically, Webb says their designs have shifted to meet consumer expectations in designs and floor plans. Buyers want larger bathrooms, walk-in pantries, and convertible spaces, but they also want no wasted space. With floor plans that can be reconfigured in 20 to 30 ways, personalization puts buyers in control.

"The idea of Mom, Dad, and the two kids doesn’t work any more," says Webb. "All the families are different now. You have all sorts of configurations."

The touch-screen at the Legacy community simplifies the selection process with a fun, dynamic user experience. “People like the interactivity," Webb says. "They like to play with stuff.” He also noted that the design center works well across all age segments. It meets the expectations of young, connected buyers while those who have built houses before appreciate the wide selection offered.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Phoenix, AZ.