A window inside the mind of the high performance home buyer

by Sep 9, 2021

Shelton Stat of the Week

While 24% of Americans are more concerned about indoor air quality than they were before the pandemic, it’s even higher for high-performance home buyers: 39% are more concerned now than before. Eco Pulse®, 2020; WNDO 2020-21

On September 14th, I’ll be speaking at the EEBA (Energy & Environmental Building Alliance) High Performance Home Summit. I am honored to sit on EEBA’s board and be part of this event for high-performance home builders.

Specifically, I’ll be talking about what we’ve learned through WNDO, a consumer insights platform we launched in the summer of 2020. It was specifically designed to gain actionable insights into the high-performance home buyers’ journey, with the end goal of helping home builders improve their products, homebuyers’ experiences, and bottom lines. WNDO surveys actual high-performance homebuyers five times throughout their build journey:

  • at the time of the sale
  • at the drywall or framing walk-through
  • during an orientation or site tour
  • 30 days after closing, 6 months after move-in

The platform helps builders understand high-performance homebuyers — who they are, why they buy, and which features and benefits of their high-performance homes they value the most. WNDO reveals how all of that changes, from what buyers thought would be important when they signed the contract to what actually is important after they’ve lived in the house for several months. WNDO also tracks how they’re feeling as they go through the build process. These insights will help high-performance home builders tighten up their marketing and messaging, as well as their home features and customer service/management processes.

Here’s a sneak peek into what we’re learning:

1. People with allergies seek out high-performance homes: As we dig into who are the people signing up to buy a high-performance home, we see some significant differences between them and the average American:

  • 81% of the high-performance buyers feel that a house has a strong or very strong impact on an individual’s health, as compared to 72% of the general American population per our latest Pulse data.
  • 82% are at least moderately concerned with the indoor air quality of their new home, vs. 53% of the general American population per our latest Pulse data.
  • 60% of the high-performance buyers are allergic to dust and/or have pollen allergies, as compared to 15% of the general American population per the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
  • And of those, 52% considered their allergies when choosing their new high-performance homes.

2. They aren’t just buying because it’s a high-performance home, and high-performance home features aren’t actually the top features they’re buying. I’ve said this a lot, and I’ll keep saying it: nobody buys a high-performance home JUST BECAUSE it offers health benefits (or just because it offers energy conservation benefits). Those features and benefits don’t exist in a silo; they’re combined with others to create an overall value proposition that’s attractive to the buyer. For instance:

  • Quality of workmanship and building materials, as well as value for the price, layout and square footage are most important to these buyers. Healthy indoor air quality is also very important — but it’s a mid-tier benefit behind these other features.
  • “A floor plan that meets my family’s needs” is actually tied for first place for most important benefits with “prevents moisture problems that can contribute to mold and attract pests” and “a healthy home that mitigates the risk of radon, carbon monoxide and other harmful gases.”

3. While digital marketing is important, it’s not the most important marketing method. Perhaps this is different with buys of standard hones. But the high-performance buyer is still leveraging some old-school search tactics: driving by model homes and communities and asking around come before general online searches. Just over half are building a new home for the first time, so perhaps it makes sense that they want to see and experience the homes and talk to friends before jumping in.

Want to learn more? Join me at the EEBA Summit!

News of the Week

See inside Utah’s first ‘living building’ — Can this approach help save the world?
The Salt Lake Tribune

Buildings are moving away from static structures toward living spaces. In this Salt Lake Tribune article, they detail how an architecture firm took this idea to heart when redesigning their own high-performance, high-functioning offices.
Read more…

Heating for $1 a day: Kainga Ora’s first passive-designed social housing block is a blueprint
Stuff

High-performance homes don’t have to be built in a silo. In this Stuff article, they detail a project to develop an entire social housing block of high-performance homes, setting the standard for other builders in the area to follow.
Read more…

Good Company

Americans are putting their wallets where their values are. They buy brands (or those brands’ competitors) based not just on corporate behavior, but on how that behavior is perceived.

So how do you protect your bottom line and safeguard your reputation, all while making the world a better place? Well, good works. That’s the simple truth, and as you’ll learn in this report, Shelton Group has the research to back it up.

You’ll also learn how your brand can apply our insights to share your good stories in ways that captivate the public’s passion – so you can gain a market advantage.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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