To market prefab houses, show buyers the glamour

by Aug 8, 2013

Having written several books on prefab and spoken at numerous professional conferences, I assume people now understand the many advantages and scope of prefab construction.

But when I meet people and tell them I write about prefab, they still respond with, “You mean like trailers.” I am forever surprised that this stigma about prefab construction still exists.

It is clear to me that prefab is a superior way to build because of the savings in time and money, quality of construction due to being built in a protected environment and the professionalism of the workers building the components.

From an environmental perspective, prefab is the only way to build. Cutoffs can be reused on other projects, and materials such as metal and drywall can be recycled. The most important factor is that materials are not compromised by exposure to the elements.

So why isn’t everyone building prefab houses in this country?

Prefabs can come in any style or price range

The answer is education. The stigma still exists that prefabs are boxy, poorly built, cookie cutter homes.

Many people also associate prefab with modern design, even though there have been prefabs built in a multitude of styles from rural barns to traditional colonials to sleek modern styles.

There is the stigma of price – prefabs are often considered “cheap” housing. But those in the know are aware that prefabs have been built in all price ranges from small starter homes to large luxury mansions.

When people really understand the variety of home designs they can build, the various prefab methods available and the many advantages to prefab construction, they opt to build prefab.

The prefab industry has also suffered from a lack of marketing and education. Few prefab companies advertise their houses. Some companies co-op the expense of advertising with their builders. However, many builders are unwilling to participate in this expense.

Some prefab companies advertise in home magazines such as Dwell to get their names out to the public – but few companies do this. Several of the companies that are advertising are achieving superior success.

Homeowners need to be educated about not only the various types of prefab available but also the companies who supply the components. It is essential that they see the scope of designs that are currently being built and the efficiencies that are being achieved.

Several years ago I spoke at an International Building Show about the advantages of prefab. A prefab manufacturer got up to speak and said that although his houses had never been profiled in my books, he buys them in multiples and gives them out to potential clients. He said it has helped him to close numerous deals.

Recently, a real estate broker in my area had a modular house to sell. The potential customer loved the house but became nervous about buying it when she heard it was prefabricated. The broker gave her one of my books profiling many beautiful prefab houses, and was soon able to close the deal.

There is a large potential for prefab manufacturers these days. Many boomers are looking to downsize and want their customized homes built in a short amount of time. Young, first time homeowners are becoming savvier and want the efficiencies that are possible with so many of the prefab methods being used today. In general, today’s homeowner wants the low maintenance they can achieve by building an energy-efficient home. They will build a prefab home only if they are aware of the possibilities.

Most houses should be built prefab today. Industrialization over the years has demonstrated the many advantages of building products by professionals in technologically advanced factories. Nobody these days would want the parts of their car delivered to their driveway for a local contractor to assemble. In the same way, homeowners should expect no less professionalism for their homes.

Increased prefab construction of houses will happen only when the public is educated with aggressive advertising and the use of books such as mine, which glorify the prefab industry.

Each year I get a multitude of notes from readers telling me they would never consider building on-site once they have read my books.

It is now up to prefab manufacturers to get the word out and capture all of those potential clients who are ready to build new homes.

About the Author

Sheri Koones

Sheri is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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