The Seven Strategies
Turn renters into buyers by zeroing in on what they want in a new home, starting with the price tag.
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.
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.
Although many builders believe high-performance techniques add to the cost of a project, building science–based approaches can conserve a considerable amount of time and money, while also cutting down on customers’ energy bills. For example, advanced framing techniques save on lumber and labor while maximizing structural integrity, says Dean Gamble, technical manager for the EPA’s Energy Star program. These include designing homes on 2-foot modules to reduce wood waste and labor; spacing out wall studs, floor joists, and roof rafters up to 24 inches o.c.; and using two-stud corner framing and inexpensive clips for drywall instead of studs.
“Advanced framing techniques usually save builders money because they’re putting in less wood,” Gamble points out. The DOE estimates that fully implementing advanced framing techniques can result in materials costs savings of up to $1,000 and labor cost savings of up to 5 percent for a 2,400-square-foot house.
But a well-engineered building shell is more than just another way to save money and woo energy-minded customers—it soon will become essential as more rigorous state and national energy codes take hold. Meeting the new requirements will require upfront planning, says Tom DiPrima, KB Home’s executive vice president for Southern California. He’s already working toward 2020, when California’s net-zero energy standard will go into effect, requiring all new homes to produce as much energy as they consume.
“Someone thinking that they’re going to wait until 2019 to jump into learning about this is making a huge mistake,” he says.