Selling ‘lifestyle’ with creative updates to the forgotten room
“Amenities are the key to enticing home buyers,” according to a consumer survey by Meyers Research (Meyers, Jeff. Builder and Developer Magazine, May 2018).
Meyers Research reports that 42% of consumers are willing to move into a new home simply because they want a better design. In fact, design matters far more than moving for traditional lifestyle changes, such as needing a larger home for additional children or caring for aging parents, according to the research.
“Twenty-five percent of your potential buyers don’t have to move, but if you give them something better, they’ll think about it,” adds Meyers.
The survey uncovered several of the most desired home features, but surprisingly, the NUMBER ONE feature that people would move for is “bonus garage space, aka a ‘Man Cave.’” 66% stated this, more than those who would move for enhanced features in the master bath or kitchen!
Is it possible that the lowly garage offers a new frontier of home design improvements? It’s certainly worth noting that the most ignored ‘room’ under the roof deserves more attention. Those hundreds of square feet offer space for new amenities!
“People crave more spaces to connect, so it is important to create authentic experiences that consumers can connect to,” according to Meyers Research. “For example, consider adding a fireplace as a space to gather with friends, or a treehouse for early morning hangouts.”
Most new home designs now include outdoor living, more spacious patios with built-in outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, giving residents another place besides the interior of the home to gather with family and friends.
But what about when the weather doesn’t cooperate? A treehouse may not be practical, and there are no basements in the greater Houston area. Cannot the garage be another informal area where families and friends can connect, kick back, relax and enjoy themselves?
ECONOMICAL OR UPSCALE: YOU DECIDE
This newfound room can be as simple or elaborate as the builder or buyer wants it to be. It doesn’t take a great deal to create a suitable ‘Man Cave’ or ‘She-Shed’ with the space already available in the garage. It can be more functional without changing the floor plan or wrecking the budget, especially considering that you’re adding value.
A basic space would provide an area for indoor games such as darts, bags, washers or ping pong. Or maybe the buyer needs space for a workout room, a craft room or hobby shop. Add connections for TV and music, some wall art, and now the space begins to come alive!
Moving up the scale, consider a small sitting area, and now you can imagine friends and family gathering here. A more elaborate space would also need HVAC, raised ceilings, cabinetry and better lighting. No doubt a creative builder design team can think of dozens more improvements, even if the garage remains standard size.
In any case, economical or upscale, you never want to leave the garage floor unfinished, and nothing is more functional and attractive than a quality garage floor coating. These coatings will withstand vehicle traffic, spills of any kind from gasoline to red wine, while at the same time enhancing the décor.
Picture the garage as the ideal space for kids to play on a rainy day, for a messy children’s party, an adult party, or even a crawfish boil. How great it would be to clean up after an event with just a garden hose!
PLANT THE SEEDS
Consider staging model homes with extra attention to the garage, adding enough amenities to spur the buyers’ imagination. Props such as a treadmill or weight bench, a TV and some wall art will grab their attention. Add a pair of ceiling mounted speakers from the entertainment system for ambiance. Install a glass entry door from the home to invite buyers into the room.
Regardless of how far you choose to take the idea, builders should consider planting the idea that consumers need only back out the cars (or not) to start enjoying this multi-purpose space!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Article by Michael Raney, owner of Surface Systems of Texas, a Houston-based decorative concrete coating contractor. www.surfacesystemsoftexas.com
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