In the not too recent past, simply having a model home was often enough to set you apart from other builders. Times have changed. Staying competitive requires builders to provide a strategically designed and artfully merchandised model home, or even spec homes. One way to accomplish this is to engage a professional interior merchandising firm in your production process.

Interior designers and merchandisers understand the importance of a model home in making — or breaking — the sale. They know that a model home’s job is to accurately reach a target buyer and create a space where a prospective buyer can envision themselves living. To be successful, you and your merchandiser must develop a buyer profile, which will teach you how a prospective buyer will be living in your home and what matters most. The importance of buyer profiles in developing a model home design cannot be overstated.

Profile of Your Buyer
So what exactly is this all important buyer profile? A buyer profile is basically a sketch of your ideal customer. It defines the target messaging and merchandising needed to help convert a model home visitor to a home buyer. To determine your buyer profile, you will need to dig into the demographics and psychographics of your prospects. Demographics are facts such as age, gender, marital status, etc. Conversely, psychographics are the unique interests and living style of your prospects. The image below shows these distinctions.

Demographic Questions of a Buyer Profile Survey
There is a myriad of things designers want to know before crafting their designs. Some of the key questions are: who are we trying to attract, and what are they like?

When developing our buyer profiles, designers typically ask demographic-focused questions, such as:

  • How old is the buyer?
  • What is their income?
  • Are they married? Do they have kids? If so, how many and how old are they?

Psychographic Questions of a Buyer Profile Survey
Interior designers and merchandisers can (and do) design and merchandise beautiful model and spec homes with only demographic data. However, it is the psychographic information that helps create stand-out homes that potential buyers will love. To gather that type of information, they’ll ask questions to determine what kind of life the people who live in your homes want, such as:

  • Would they rather spend their weekends camping or going to a fancy dinner downtown?
  • Do they consider themselves tech-savvy?
  • How important are walking trails to their overall satisfaction?
  • Does the success of the local sports team impact their happiness level?

Interior merchandisers will try to imagine they are walking in the shoes of the potential buyer with the goal of designing around the lifestyle your buyers want. Furniture, colors and items are placed to move the eye and the people through the home to tantalizing effect, ultimately resulting in more successful home sales.

Sample buyer profile and designs, courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

Taking the time to flesh out a buyer profile allows interior designers and merchandisers to discover the subtleties of a builder’s specific market and then ensure the homes reflect these details. When interior designs truly capture the human element of your community, homes sell.

Post courtesy of Sue Ridgeway, director of marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colo. This post was featured on Best in American Living and in the Summer 2019 issue of the 55+ Housing Online Magazine.