Builder Homesite aims to change image of new homes

AUSTIN, TX: Builder Homesite has launched a campaign to improve the perception of newly built homes among potential home buyers.

AUSTIN, TX: Builder Homesite has launched a campaign to improve the perception of newly built homes among potential home buyers.

The organization, a group of 32 of the largest US home builders, brought on Edelman and advertising agency GSD&M for the multi-million dollar PR and marketing initiative, which will run through 2013.

The home-building industry saw a significant drop in new home sales during the economic downturn, with sales down 76% since 2005, according to the US Census Bureau. Along with the challenges of a sluggish economy, many consumers carry the misperception that older homes were built better, said Keith Guyett, VP of marketing and industry communications for Builder Homesite.

“In the downturn, new homes were losing their market share to existing homes because of misperceptions about the quality of construction, the cost per square foot, maintenance over time, and the way the homes are designed,” he said. “A lot of consumers are not getting the full picture of what these new homes can offer. Our goal is to do a much better job of painting a clear picture of new homes so we win more tie-breakers when consumers are in the shopping process and investigating both new and used homes.”

Before the peak home-selling season between February and Labor Day, Builder Homesite will reach out to a mix of local, regional, and national consumer, business, and trade media, said Edelman VP Kim Tillinghast. The organization will leverage CEO Tim Costello as an industry expert to discuss trends and on-the-ground observations, she added. The campaign will also include digital elements, such as a website, produced and user-generated videos, and interactive games.

The campaign's target audience is consumers ages 30 to 54, with an average household income of $50,000 and above. It will also focus on repeat buyers rather than first-time home buyers, Guyett said.

One key message the campaign will highlight is the different experiences that home buyers have after moving into new homes versus existing homes, Guyett said. Existing homes typically require more repairs and changes to make them livable and presentable, but a new home built and designed by the homeowner requires less effort afterwards, he said.

“The cost of maintenance to existing homes over time can make that experience less joyful,” he said. “With a new home, the cost of maintenance is less, so it saves the home owner time and money. It's a ‘want to do' list versus a ‘have to do' list.”

Prior to launching the initiative, Builder Homesite conducted research with media company Hanley Wood that found potential home buyers are most concerned about finding a home with a lower cost of living through lower maintenance, improved energy efficiency, modern floor plans, and superior construction quality.


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