Home decoratingThere’s a trend these days to have a staff member decorate a builder’s modelhomes. With budgets so tight that could be a great way to save some money, and Iknow lots of you have questions as far as if this is the right way to go. For those ofyou are thinking of going in this direction, I wanted to share a basic timeline of whatneeds to be done to organize and merchandise your new model homes so you willhave an idea of what is involved in the process. Ceiling light1. Meet with builder and their team to get information. Find out what thedemographics are of the potential buyers, plans of the models you will be building,who the competition is, and what your budgets will be. It’s also critical to know whatthe time frame is for completion and if there are any grand openings or other eventsplanned. Garden light2. Shop the Competition. I’m always amazed when I go out and walk model homes,and it’s obvious that the decorators or merchandisers didn’t take a look at thecompetition. I’ve seen homes with the same colors and even the same furnitureright next to each other! You want your buyers to remember your homes over thecompetition, and an easy way to do that is to make them unique and memorable. Ifyou can take digital images of what you see you can share these with your team tohelp them understand the competition as well. As this is one of the most importantparts of what I do. Understanding the buyer’s lifestyle and what’s important to themhelps me prioritize where I should spend my budget. Bedroom light3. Trend Tracking. Do you have an idea of what’s hot and what’s not to yourbuyers? Hard to change out items, such as flooring, cabinets, and bath fixtures needto be on-trend but not trendy. These are items that the customer are going to haveto live with for quite a few years. Window treatments, wall colors, furniture andbedding are areas that you can “trendier” colors and designs since they can easily bechanged out. Atmosphere light4. Space Planning. One of the biggest reasons to merchandise and model a home isso that the buyer can become emotionally attached to a home and understand howthe home will flow, and their furniture will fit into the rooms. Using the right scale offurniture is critical, and using items that are too big, too small, or the wrong stylecan turn a buyer off from the home. A floor plan needs to be evaluated and furnitureshould be drawn in to scale on the plan. This also give the builder an idea of whatwill be included in the cost of the model.5. Product Selection. Another important part of the decorator or merchandisers jobis to help with the selections for the home. Having the proper lighting, flooring, trim,and details in a home is an important part of making it all come together, and if thebuilder is selling options and upgrades, showing these in the model properly is veryimportant. Bathroom light6. Ordering. You now have a plan, a budget, and a direction that you are taking,now it’s time to place the orders. One of the advantages a professional merchandiserhas is relationships and wholesale accounts with the appropriate manufacturers. Ifyou don’t have these you can buy at local retail stores, but keep in mind the extratime it will take to find the perfect items, purchase, move to a warehouse or staginglocation, and possibly assemble the items. A builder wants you to install a modelhome as quickly as possibly, so everything really needs to be taken to one locationthen taken to the model in one trip.
So you have your items ordered… what next?There’s lots more to do, but you’ll have to check back to find out what else needs tobe done. I’m off to Rochester, NY to work with one of my favorite clients – to installa beautiful new model home and to kick off a wonderful program where giving backto the community they love.