It might be true that there’s only one chance to make a good first impression. But for home builders, there are always opportunities to continue to make a chain of great impressions. Buying a new home is a long process, and builders who help customers navigate the maze of material and color selections, mortgage lenders and escrow companies, can ensure a positive experience for their buyer. After all, home builders work hard to offer the features that buyers want – right? Because “Customer Satisfaction” is the goal, and if the process is handled wisely, the buyers will keep coming.
Or will they? As a new home subcontractor, Joe Ferraro, owner of Closets Las Vegas, has found that’s not always the case.
“I can’t count the number of phone calls I’ve received from buyers who are angry and frustrated with their builder, and it’s usually for one of two reasons. First, as they begin to unpack and settle into their new home they realize that with all the options and upgrades the builder encouraged them to get, no one ever bothered to ask about their storage needs. That means the very first thing they have to do when they move into their brand new beautiful home is tear it apart,” says Ferraro.
“Can you imagine? Ripping out the antiquated shelf-and-pole systems (that most builders still use) from all their bedroom, linen, and coat closets, even the pantry – it’s a huge mess, and a massive inconvenience. Then it needs to be re-
textured and re-painted, costing them more money to get the system they want and need now because they’re having to remodel a new home to get it.
“Plus this all takes time, during which your clothes and belongings are in boxes or strewn across the furniture. I’d be pretty mad about that, too. Especially when it could have easily been avoided by installing it during construction.
“The second reason they’ll be upset – and this can be even more frustrating for buyers – is to find out after they’ve moved in that the builder does offer the option to upgrade closets and storage, but no one told them about it,” Ferraro states incredulously. “For whatever reason, the sales or design center representative failed to even bring up the subject, and it really does happen more than you would believe. Now, not only are they tearing their house up and spending more money, they’re doing it with the knowledge that it could have all been avoided – and that puts a big chip on their shoulder about their home builder.”
Here in Las Vegas, Ferraro has been custom designing closet and garage storage systems for the past 15 years, working with many of the largest new home builders in town.
“Studies continue to prove that more and better storage is consistently among the top five things that buyers look for in a home,” he says. “Smart builders encourage their buyers to think about upgrading their storage areas during construction. And when they do, homeowners will call us to say how much they love their closets. We always pass that along to the builder, so they’ll continue to recognize the value they’re offering their customers.”
Giving buyers what they want. It’s not a strange concept, but it is strangely inconsistent among home builders, Ferraro notes.
“We explain it to our home builder clients like this,” Ferraro says. “Compare today’s new homes to the homes of 1980. Everything has joined the 21st century: Kitchens are open and light with cabinet, countertop, fixtures, appliances and lighting upgrades available; the number of flooring options are astounding; smart home systems for home theaters and digital devices didn’t even exist back then. But if the homes you build today are still using the same wood shelf and pole from 1980, then you’re ignoring what buyers want and missing out on upgrade income opportunities.”