Mark O. Lords offers these tips for effective purchasing.

  • Avoid Builder Bias. Just because you think a product will be exciting, doesn't mean you should put it in your home. Home prices often are artificially high because builders have a habit of including things that the market does not perceive as having value.
  • Listen To The Buyer. “Suppliers come in all the time trying to sell us products,” Lords says. Don't let them dictate what you put into your homes. Instead, Lords says, when your buyers visit your models, they will tell you what products they want and what's hot.
  • Chart Your Specs. It's a good idea to chart all the specs options and upgrades to see what's showing up. “Often, you'll say to the salespeople, ‘How many people come in and ask for a Viking gas range?' If they say 20 percent of the time, then you make it an option. If they say 80 percent of the time, then we start thinking about it as a standard product.”
  • Know Your Market. If you have the pulse of the market, you are more likely to know when to take a risk. “You can put a little extra jazz in the model because the buyer goes in and remembers you. Then they'll say, ‘That was the builder that had so and so in the kitchen.'”
  • Look A Tother Markets, Too. Lords is conservative and doesn't try to step out too much. But since Vermont is not a leading-edge market, one of his strategies is to watch other regions. What's hot in other places may be heading your way.