While the high end is rocking again, how to attract first-time buyers is a question on everyone’s mind. You’ve heard the reasons why it remains a prickly problem: The down payment. The loan. Student debt. Just plain playing it safe in a nerve-racking economy. Turning renters into buyers is a matter of cutting costs, “a hard pill for many architects to swallow because we’re trained to strive for perfection and uniqueness,” says Donald Powers, principal of Providence, R.I.-based Union Studio Architecture & Community Design. But once you accept economy as a design exercise, it can be fun. “Being creative with simple is what makes a production house good,” Powers says, “but you have to understand how it’s going to be built.”
While design is an important part of the affordability equation, so, too, are factors such as land and labor. See below for a list of seven strategies to consider from those who have already cracked the code.
The Seven Strategies
Older, established enclaves and outer-ring suburbs offer affordable land in locations that appeal to new buyers.
Properly scaled elevations with simple detailing, regardless of style, turn buyers' heads at any price point. .
High-performance techniques conserve time and money while cutting down on owners' energy bills.
Scale, proportion, open plans, and flexible spaces make a smaller house look and feel like its million-dollar neighbor.
Thoughtful details such as frosted doors, dimmable lighting, high ceilings, and built-ins create a luxury look for less.
Limit Design Choices for Cost-Effective Purchasing
When it comes to helping buyers with interior product selection, less can be more.
Hiring, training, and retaining talented employees and subs should be job No. 1 for builders trying to manage costs.