Programming Amenities that Resonate with Buyers
DURATION 3 minute read
Neighborhood amenities are shifting. Standard community features such as pools, parks and playgrounds are no longer cutting it. Though such amenities still bring value to a master-planned community, they’ve become commonplace and will no longer distinguish a community from the many other options buyers have these days.
What is the key to planning unique amenities that will make a community stand out from the rest? I recently sat down with Tom Woliver, founder of OxLand Advisors, a real estate development and consulting company, to discuss how catering amenities to the demographic of a master-planned community can drive engagement and increase organic sales.
Know your Demographic
Research is the first step in every project. The data collected during this period allows us to make informed decisions and gain a better understanding of the unknown. Tom and his team have found that researching the demographic of a community’s potential buyers is key to developing desirable amenity packages.
“You have to do your research,” Tom said. “A master-planned community is not meant to be one-size-fits-all.”
Surveying recent and potential buyers allow you to obtain granular details about what people want in the community they’re going to call home. Though the economic background and buying power may be similar, the amenities and programming desired by certain demographics will vary. Once the buyer’s priorities have been determined, you can develop amenity packages and services that improve your residents’ quality of life. In turn, this will increase engagement and activity, which many potential buyers view as a community attraction.
Designing a Bestselling Master-Planned Community
Tom is known for his integrated approach to developing master-planned communities. He led a team on the notable development of Harvest – a 1,170-acre community in Argyle, TX by Hillwood Communities. As one of the
The community features a farm that allows residents to grow produce, contribute to the community crops, and share with a local food bank. The focus of the amenity was not the physical aspect of the farm, but how it allows residents to work together for the greater good of the community and the local food bank.
“It’s amenities like this [Harvest farm] that make communities different,” Tom said. “They are the kinds of things you want to find when researching the demographic.”
Harvest has regularly programed events for all ages, but Tom knew some residents wanted to interact in their own way outside of programmed events. Spaces were designed to leverage social activity – most notably a barn in an open field that allows for spontaneous gatherings, one of the community’s most popular amenities.
“You need to think about how you can implement infrastructure that is conducive to the social demands of the community,” Tom said.
Why this Matters for Developers
COVID-19 is changing how people view their homes. Now that more people are living, working and playing at home, they want a community that offers more than your standard amenity options. Factoring in amenities that appeal to a community’s demographic can not only drive organic sales but also drive engagement among your residents and make a community feel like home.
The best dollar you can spend is on your existing homeowners. Take the time to understand what they want out of their community and program amenities accordingly. At the end of the day, your residents are the best marketers. If they are happy homeowners, they are going to tell their friends and family about how much they love their community.
Check out episode 12 of our podcast, Texas By Design, if you are looking for more insight into how catering amenities to the community can drive engagement. You can watch the episode on YouTube or listen wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to subscribe for updates on market trends, industry news and everything in between.