Home building technology has changed and pricing has come down for features that were once considered premium, according to Todd Gamboa, president of Building Trust LLC. “Consumers are aware of this stuff, but do we point it out?”
Gamboa spoke at the first-quarter Lunch and Learn hosted by Construction Resource Group in early March. He urged builders to educate homebuyers on the way homes have changed.
“I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say, ‘They don’t build houses like they used to,’ and I think, ‘Thank God,'” Gamboa said.
Builders’ competition is not with each other, he continued, it’s with the residential resale market. It’s a competition that with the right outreach and education should put new homes ahead of those built even 10 years ago.
“Any home that’s built new in the Denver market right now really is considered a high-performance home compared to a resale home,” Gamboa said.
Homes built to the International Energy Conservation Code in 2012 were 15% more efficient than those built in 2009, which were already 15% more efficient than those built in 2006.
“So from 2006 to 2012, the house is 30% more efficient, but how many of our buyers know that? How many of the realtors that are representing our transactions know that?” Gamboa asked.
Fewer than 7% of real estate agents in Colorado are selling new construction, Gamboa said. The resale market gives them more freedom in negotiations. “They’re not going to go to you as a builder or a product guy and haggle over price,” he said.
Builders need to educate real estate professionals on the innovations in building technology that have occurred over the past few years, he said. He encourages builders and agents to focus on cost per cubic foot of maintaining a home, not the price per square foot.
“Have you ever built a home that is one foot tall? Because that would be square feet,” Gamboa said. “If you’re going to buy a 2,000 square foot home that has eight-foot ceilings, that’s a wonderful little 16,000 cubic foot house.”
Selling homes in those terms allows builders to focus on the ways they’ve built those homes to be more efficient, healthier and more comfortable.