eHomebuilding


Besides the Unspeakable Evil and Dead Clown in the Garden, the Schools are Very Good

Posted in Just Because by Jim Tome on November 30, 2008
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At my firm, DC Interactive Group, we manage online marketing programs using Web 2.0 tools for many homebuilding clients, including Pulte/Del Webb, New West Realty and some smaller, local builders. As a part of our program, we’re always looking for opportunities to blog, comment and generally drive traffic back to our client’s minisites that are set up specifically to gather home buyer appointments for our clients and educate potential buyers about our client’s communities and developments.

The other day, one of our monitoring tools picked a very interesting video on YouTube. It’s an exerpt from the popular British comedy sketch show, Man Stroke Woman (yes, an odd name, I agree). I had thought about posting it on one of our client’s blogs, but honestly I figiured I’d have a hard time explaining the humor to sometimes humorless VPs of Marketing.

So, without further ado, here’s the sketch for your review:

Home of the Future: The Smart Garage

Forget the dirty, oily garage of the past -- soon it will be one of the most technologically-connected rooms in your home.

Forget the dirty, oily garage of the past -- soon it will be one of the most technologically-connected rooms in your home.

While oil — and gas — prices have been steadily falling over the past months, there’s no doubt that today’s consumers are demanding high-efficiency vehicles, such as gas-electric mix, fuel cell or even pure electric. Some are even calling hybrid sales a recession-defying phenomena, though recent sales have started to fall flat.

Nevertheless, the home of the future will certainly feature changes in one room that barely anyone could have foreseen even a couple of years ago. Soon, garages will become “smart.”

According to Michael Brylawski, cofounder and leader of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Mobility + Vehicle Efficiency (MOVE) Team, “”This is where your car, the house, and the electricity system meet.”

Not too soon in the future, your electric-hyrbid car will plug into power and data stations at home, near the office and even parking garages for recharging. While the initial push of energy will be from the grid to the car’s batteries, it is expected that those same batteries will serve another purpose — to store energy for the overall grid and serve as a way for power companies to smooth out the naturally fluctuating supply of energy.

In addition, that same connection could interface with computers that monitor the “health” of your car and its systems, serve as a way to monitor diagnostics and driving history and even be a way to sync inhome and onboard systems like media libraries (music and video), an integrated phone’s address book and downloads to GPS-driven services like restaurant guides.

Homebuyers With iPhones Rejoice: Trulia is THE App You Need

Posted in New & Interesting by Jim Tome on August 28, 2008
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Savvy iPhone-equipped homebuyers have one more thing to covet -- Trulia announced this week that a new App for the iPhone is available (for free).

Savvy iPhone-equipped homebuyers have one more thing to covet -- Trulia announced this week that a new App for the iPhone is available (for free).

An article this week in Newsweek talks about consumer’s new fascination with self-directing their own new home search (the article starts off with a quaint recant of how the author — some decade or so ago — thought he was on the cutting edge, reviewing new listings his realtor faxed (!) over, then sat in the back of the realtor’s car as he was driven from home to home).

While many consumers still rely on the services of a realtor or broker, still more are doing the initial search themselves online, using popular listing sites like Craigslist, Trulia and Oodle, then gettign directions via Google Maps or MapQuest.

iPhone owners — ever the technosavvy and often envied — join their BlackBerry brethren this week with a new iPhone App from Trulia. According to reviews and information from the Newsweek article, homebuyers using the App can now:

  • Search for homes by current location (we hope it uses the iPhone G3’s GPS abilities to determine what’s close).
  • Ability to map your trip to a home from your current location (again, GPS is the key here).
  • Ability to view current open houses.
  • It’s easy to call or e-mail the listing agent.

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Bad Industry News Reveals An Interesting Sales Strategy

Posted in Public Relations,Strategies by Jim Tome on July 8, 2008
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With increasingly bad economic news citing slower and slower housing starts, growing unemployment rates, falling consumer confidence numbers and fears about another round of bank and finance company defaults, an interesting strategy is being revealed that many competitive and innovative homebuilders and developers may want to consider.

Nancy Keates of The Wall Street Journal recently reported on her experience in building a new home while making some interesting observations that are a result of the woes of the economy in general and homebuilding industry specifically.

While the article begins by playing on buyers’ perceptions that it is currently cheaper to buy an existing home than construct a new one, for those consumers that conclude a home built to their specifications is superior to one that they might settle on based on cost, there hasn’t been a better time to build new than now.

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Baby Boomers and Millennials Enticed by Urban Housing Options

An interesting article, first seen in The Wall Street Journal, surfaced over the weekend in our local newspaper, The Chicago Tribune. In it, the author discussed how urban living appeals to two diverse demographics that you might not think about — Baby Boomers and Millennials, that groups of 20somethings born between the late 1970s and mid 1990s.

Each finds condo and townhome living in our nation’s urban centers appealing — the Baby Boomers favor the wide choices of dining and entertainment — as well as the many cultural attractions — while the Millennials, seeking refuge from the suburban sprawl they typically grew up with, find the nightlife and large groups of similarly-minded peers attractive. Both groups, of course, love the public transportation options, typically rail line and bus, though the relative closeness of everything also appeals to those seeking a healthy lifestyle — or at least those who think they do!

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