In our last article, we covered the concept of Performance Engineering as the first step in managing cost without reducing consumer appeal. Strategic plan revision can effectively contain cost and enhance lifestyles, which is a surefire way to create lasting marketability.


The second way to improve performance requires a different sort of commitment to revolutionizing your plan portfolio. Instead of revising plans, identify the ones that should be eliminated from the library. A laser focus on consumer demand is likely to uncover some deficiencies that would be harder to fix than it’s worth. Start by targeting any plan designed before 2020.

The rapid change in lifestyle expectations that has occurred since 2019 has more than likely left some of your plans feeling dated or unresponsive. Many designs that were created before the pandemic can’t evolve quickly enough to satisfy the new consumer must-haves in terms of functionality, layout and style. Even if some of these plans were great sellers in the past, it’s time to part ways.

For starters, conduct a general review of your portfolio by looking at some key consumer demands that have shifted since 2020.

Show Me the Data…and Design Accordingly

Since 2020, countless studies and surveys have identified some major changes in what homebuyers need and want. Pay attention to the data to make sure you’re not missing a huge opportunity. Responsive plans prove you’re listening to buyer input, and consumers will notice. On the flip side, plans that don’t address these 8 essential factors are likely dragging down your performance.


  • Front Porch: 80% of consumers want one – a 53% increase since 2020
  • Volume: 64% of consumers say two-story foyers are NOT important

Source: National Association of Home Builders, and others


  • Back Kitchen: Functionality over size, storage-heavy, part of the square footage formula
  • Pantry: 81% of buyers want at least a walk-in pantry

Source: National Association of Home Builders, and others


  • 40% of Americans rent self-storage spaces because their homes feel cluttered
  • 87% want a higher functioning laundry room that includes storage

Source: Forbes Magazine, August 2022


  • 35% of U.S. adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night; 20% of accidents are caused by drowsy driving
  • Bedrooms should be sanctuaries that foster high-quality sleep environments

Sources: Centers for Disease Control 2022; America at Home Study 2023 


  • Spa Bath Design: 5 fixtures mandatory, private water closet, no more “ballrooms”
  • Only 24% consider it desirable to have just a shower (no tub)

Source: National Association of Home Builders, 2022


  • 70% of Americans work remotely at least 1 day per week
  • Wants: Multiple work zones, space for side hustles, 1 in 3 buyers require more than one office

Sources: Zonda, Washington Post, Forbes, Indeed


  • Me Space: His vs. hers, creative options, model personality
  • Kid Space: Dream big, fun space, interior design is key
  • Pet Space: Place with purpose, show organization and thought, repurpose unusable space
  • Wellness: Fitness that flexes, access to light, small can be big

Source: America at Home Study, 2022 and 2023


  • Entertainment-focused outdoor space under roof, integrated into the floor plan
  • More light with more windows, option stacked sliders or corner glass
  • Extend outdoor opportunities from office space, primary bedrooms, etc.

Source: America at Home Study, 2022

Making the Tough Decisions

If any of your plans miss the mark on even one of these data-supported consumer preferences, it’s time to seriously consider cutting them from your library. Yes, you’ve invested time and money in product development, but evidence is showing that you’ll be missing out on the potential for higher retail price points – and higher profit – by failing to adjust to the times. 

It’s a safe bet that any plan developed prior to 2020 will lack some or all of today’s top-priority elements. In fact, if your plan library is primarily pre-2020 designs, it might be time to start over. At the very least, eliminate dated plans in favor of more current designs, update decent performers to address these trends, and create new plans to fill any voids. 

Buyers have spoken. Are you listening?

This article was based on a speech titled “Winning Strategies for Product Design” delivered by Steve Moore, Senior Partner, at the 2023 Shinn Builder Partnerships Executive Summit.