There are clear trends in house plans, and they tell as much about marketing as they do about design. Here are the leading ones for 2013 based on sales from house plan subsidiaries of Hanley Wood, BUILDER’s parent company.
1. They’re presented well. It may seem obvious, but people gravitate toward an attractive presentation. Sixty percent of the best-selling plans have photography, and the rest have high-quality 3D renderings. Make sure your marketing materials match your customers’ high expectations.
2. Social media loves them. The best-selling plans get pinned a lot. Pinterest is a virtual scrapbook that many potential buyers are using. If your company doesn’t have a Pinterest page, start a pinboard to showcase your homes’ special features.
3. They’re ready for telecommuting. Six out of 10 of the most popular plans have an office or a study, while others have living rooms that could easily serve that function.
4. The kitchen is everything. All of the top plan layouts have kitchens that include islands and are open to the main living space.
5. There’s still a place for formal dining. Rumors of the dining room’s demise have been exaggerated. The majority of the top-selling home plans—six out of 10—have a dining room that is separate from the breakfast nook. Will the space get used much? Maybe not, but buyers still want it.
6. They’re mainly two stories. Seven out of the 10 top-selling designs have two stories—a big reversal from last year when 80 percent were single-level designs. But single-story living remains strong; a look at overall plan sales reveals an almost even split between one- and two-story homes.
7. The master bedroom is on the first floor. Nine out of 10 of these homes have a master suite on the first floor. Parents with children enjoy the privacy, and empty nesters appreciate the convenience. Accessibility will continue to gain importance in the coming years, so this trend is likely here to stay. Consider including a flex room and a full bath near the master suite so parents can keep young children close by.
8. They’re bigger than in 2012. The top-selling plans average 3,179 square feet, bigger than last year’s average of 2,646 square feet. But when all plan sales are considered, the average drops to 2,443 square feet. So what does it mean? It’s easy to imagine how a slightly bigger home with excellent photography or a 3D rendering (an advantage that many small homes don’t have) can capture a lot of attention, leading to best-seller status even as the overall demand reflects a more modest trend.
Note: Because of the large selection of plans offered and sold, the best-seller list represents a very small sample of overall sales. For more information, visit here.