For the past 8 to 10 years, many single family builders in the Chicago area have been hesitant to invest in new plans or portfolio updates. Buyers seem to be content staying put or shopping existing homes instead of considering new product. But even though consumer data doesn’t seem to support a massive investment in plan updates, minor enhancements can make a huge difference, starting with elevations.

Chicago isn’t the only place with the opportunity for retooling. Colorado is number 1 on the 2018 list for overall highest growth and stability once again – and 3 metros ranked out of the top 25 for the best market housing growth. With growth comes housing demand, and retooling successful floor plans is the best way to capitalize on that demand.

Just because a floor plan has been around for awhile doesn’t mean it should be tossed. Instead, we encourage builders to look at their best-selling plans to see if they can get even better. For the most cost-effective refresh, consider retooling your elevations. Many times, limited plan adjustments are needed, and the result is a more current, more appealing look that is more enticing to today’s buyers.

Buyer preferences change with the times, but authentic architectural styles are always a sound investment. Consider updating generic plans with clearly identifiable styles. Start with the time-tested winners, such as craftsman and low country. Buyers understand the distinctive elements of these styles and enjoy being able to name them when talking about their newly purchased home. For a more trendy option, introduce a modern farmhouse. With 5+ years of dominance, this “trend” has some staying power, so capitalize on it while you still can.

Finally, any elevation can be refreshed through transitional design elements. Existing elevations that already have authentic elements can be retooled to give them a more contemporary vibe. Transitional design simplifies the basic forms of each style while maintaining the massing and scale of the original. After applying a new color palette and a few careful details, the new elevation can reposition your old plan for the next wave of home buyers.