Differentiating your brand in a fast-moving housing market is a tricky task these days.

Rising labor and materials costs, tariffs, savvy competitors, smart home technology, shifting home buyer preferences, just to name a few variables, makes home building … well, interesting.

Today some home builders have found a way to adapt to changing tastes without disrupting familiar floor plans, building methods, price points, budgets, and margins. That’s where color comes in … specifically, exterior color.

Staying current with on-trend exterior colors is an effective way to continually revitalize a home building brand. Yet even exterior color has its challenges. A drive through a luxury home community often reveals homes with darker, more sophisticated grays, blues, red, greens, and browns. Cladding materials common to high-end custom homes like wood, fiber cement, stucco, or insulated metal paneling do a fine job displaying robust, saturated colors.

Where does this leave affordable home builders? How can they use on-trend colors to differentiate their homes? Shawn Hardy has given those questions a lot of thought. Hardy, senior vice present and general manager of integrated products at Alside, believes affordable home builders can use bolder, richer colors home buyers prefer without sacrificing budget and building practice.

“When there’s a lot of construction going on, builders do everything they can to differentiate their homes. Color is a top way to do it,” Hardy says. “In slower markets, home builders look to stand out from an older, established inventory. Again, color is a great differentiator.” Hardy suggests home builders keep at least four factors in mind:

  1. Risk Reduction. Think evolution, not revolution, Hardy advises. “Consider hues that have evolved from proven, popular colors. The growth areas are grays and blues. Red, green and brown should be more evolutionary, more contemporary.”
  2. Passé Pastels. Dark, saturated colors are on the rise. A glance through Houzz or Pinterest affirms that. “There was a time when economical cladding materials like vinyl siding wasn’t in that conversation. With vinyl siding you could pick white, clay, or one of 10 different shades of tan,” Hardy adds. “Advances in pigment and PVC compounds or vinyl compounds have changed all that.”
  3. Low Cost Differentiator. Hardy cites examples like Alside’s new Explorer Collection of deep saturated vinyl siding hues as a superb example of reimagined cladding options. The Explorer Collection offers home builders a luxury home exterior color at an affordable vinyl cladding price. “These colors are not typical in this cladding,” Hardy reports. “Builders, without a huge increase in cost, can now safely build in the darker color space and create differentiated homes.”
  4. Buyer-Friendly. Alternative cladding options often represent costly ongoing maintenance issues. That goes away with vinyl siding with baked-in, no-paint color. Hardy also points out vinyl siding doesn’t carry the burden for moisture mitigation, simplifying installation and training, huge considerations for labor-strapped builders.

“Can the right color mean an extra $5,000 or $10,000 to a builder? That’s hard to say. But I know it’s a big all-around advantage to have affordable, high-value color options,” explains Hardy. “It’s a luxury home look without the luxury home price.”

To learn more, including tools to visualize your home designs in Explorer Collection colors, visit http://www.alside.com/color-design/color-palettes/.