It’s useful to talk about a home in terms of how it “performs,” because it helps you understand customers’ expectations. Homebuyers invest a considerable amount of money and energy into the building of a new home. They have definite expectations about how quickly the home should be built and how it should perform now and in the future.
Homes that don’t perform to customer expectations adversely affect the homebuilder by causing problems, including increased re-work during construction, increased service and warranty claims, and not to mention lower customer satisfaction and fewer referrals. Here’s a slice of what buyers expect and what you can do to build homes that conform to their expectations.
Homebuyer expectation #1: The home is a safe, secure, and healthy place to live.
Builder strategy: Build structurally sound framing that keeps the home standing. Use strategies that prevent mold growth and outdoor pollutants from affecting indoor air quality; for instance, seal the building envelope, control water infiltration, and ventilate properly.
Homebuyer expectation #2: The home is durable, and the materials will last for many years with some routine maintenance.
Builder strategy: Frame correctly to minimize drywall cracks and nail pops. Reduce window leaks and plumbing leaks. Use high-performance paints.
Homebuyer expectation #3: The home’s interior temperature is comfortable and easy to control.
Builder strategy: Size the HVAC system correctly for the home’s heating and cooling loads, and seal supply and return ducts at all seams. Install wall and ceiling insulation correctly, and seal all air leaks in the building envelope. Install high-performance windows.
Homebuyer expectation #4: The home is built with an efficient use of resources, and it’s relatively affordable to purchase, operate, and maintain.
Builder strategy: Use materials and labor in an efficient manner during construction. Set a sales price on par with comparable homes in the area. Ensure no excessive maintenance or repairs are needed. Control utility costs by sizing, balancing, and sealing the HVAC system and sealing air leaks.
For continued profitability and growth, it's critical to fully understand the factors that affect building performance, because they directly influence homeowner satisfaction.
Want to learn more?
BuildIQ's online training course, Building for Performance, teaches how a home should be designed and constructed, as well as how it should operate, to meet customer expectations for home performance. Also, check out our article on properly sizing and sealing HVAC systems in order to ensure optimum HVAC performance.