How do you convert new homeowners? What does it take to attract existing ones? In this occasional series, daring and enterprising thinkers offer straight talk about seizing upon a smart idea and identifying the challenges. You’ll hear from production builders and developers about where the next opportunity might be, how to know it when you see it, and what to do with it when you have it.

Dan Gainsboro, Founding Principal, NOW Communities
Liz Linder Photography Dan Gainsboro, Founding Principal, NOW Communities

What’s your Big Idea?
Energy efficient homes with a small footprint, organized around a shared green. Homes located within walking distance to a town center and public transportation.

How did you know you were on to something?
Market and municipal response.

What are some of the biggest obstacles in making it happen?
Available and affordable land and appropriate zoning.

How did you overcome them?
Wore out lots of shoe leather, reached out to abutters early and often, built coalition among stakeholders, and educated municipal officials 

How do you turn renters into buyers?
By pursuing quality over quantity.

How do you convince existing homeowners to sell so they can buy one of your homes?
By providing homes that are beautiful, high-value, energy-efficient, and easy to maintain. Homes that are durable, with floor plans that make way for aging in place. Homes that offer community and that are within walking distance of life’s necessities.

What do you think is the biggest change happening or coming to residential development?
Emphasis on energy efficiency and healthy indoor air quality.