What interesting times we are living in right now. The housing market is in upheaval and the building industry is wondering how to respond.
Too often, the assumption is that in tough times, lower cost is the only way to move houses. With a glut of houses on the market, lowering the margin on new homes was and is inevitable. But one place I believe we cannot afford to cut expenses is in housing quality.
In the last five or ten years, many of us have made significant gains in housing quality by utilizing good design, careful load calculations, efficient construction practices and innovative materials. These improvements have given us a competitive edge over our competition; an edge that only widens with rising energy costs and the rising expectations of today's better informed home buyers.
So what should be our response to the changing housing market? I maintain that a focus on quality is the best strategy you can pursue. Building better homes is better for our customers, our business and our country.
To all of you who have worked so hard to earn market differentiation through improved quality – only to see price erosion – I say “hold fast”. Find your savings in improved construction efficiencies, reduced callbacks, higher customer referral rates and better marketing, not through reducing quality to find a magic price you think buyers will like. Sell quality and don’t apologize for it!