Somethin’ Special

“Special” according to Webster is “distinguished by some unusual quality; being in some way superior . . . held in particular esteem.” Everyone desires to be special, which often is manifested in a distinctive skill, trait or ownership of a particular object. Being or feeling special is a positive human characteristic sought by most human beings and frequently displayed by personal clothing, automobiles, boats, houses and neighborhoods.

Consumer products are often advertised as contributing something special to the purchaser, often related to personal appearance or happiness. Builders frequently pursue the same approach with the inclusion of special features in new homes, such as the recent emphasis on items of energy and security in the home. All of these special features tend to be directed toward a generic audience defined by the builder/developer, or his staff and consultants, as similar to past purchasers of that builder’s homes; or, in all too many cases, the individual or group decision makers of that company relying on their own past experience with consumers.

But, future consumers may not display the same characteristics as past consumers, especially in the current post-recession period when many deferred purchase consumers are mixed with new consumers. Old specialty items may not match the interests of new consumers. So, the first step in defining “Somethin’ Special” is to determine the characteristics of future buyers/renters, remembering that their decisions center on the four components of a new homes offering—Neighbors, Nature, Amenities (both on-site and nearby), and Housing. Today’s consumer examines all of these components prior to reaching a purchase/rental decision. Only after that determination can the optimum special feature be defined.

Second to identifying potential consumers is examination of the community site and its environs. What natural and manmade amenities are available, e.g., waterfront is a major comparative advantage for both premium view consumers as well as secondary view consumers who can enjoy the water amenity via walking or biking. Off-site amenities that may be featured include the travel time from the site to health care, education, convenience shopping, recreation, religion, entertainment, and employment—all important factors in the purchase/lease decision for one or more of your consumers.

Once these two sets of information have been identified for future consumers, the selection of “Somethin’ Special” can be selected as the primary attractor for the housing site—the single best feature for attracting target consumers to this site for purchase or rental residency.

If you would like to explore further details on this or other blog articles, please contact Dr. David F. Parker at (904) 992-9888, or or go to to read more about what Parker Associates can do for you.

Dr. David Forster Parker
November 2014
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