During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor
Clubhouse Style Makes for Distinctive Sales Pitch
Style Interior Design in Irvine, Calif., is known for creating magnificent clubhouses.
|Prospective buyers at Santaluz enter into this living room and are greeted by a docent for a house tour.|
Style Interior Design in Irvine, Calif., is known for creating magnificent clubhouses. But the Santaluz House, one of its most prestigious projects, is not a clubhouse; rather, it's a home designed to feel, if not function, like a clubhouse.
The 7,000-square-foot, one-story, hacienda-style home, completed in July 2001, was the first (and for many months the only) structure built in Santaluz, a master-planned community in San Diego County. While serving as Santaluz's sales center, the home needed to inform people about the community and convey its atmosphere and culture.
Style Interior Design received a simple directive for styling the home: Make it understated, elegant and natural. Great pains were taken to accentuate the relationship between the Santaluz House and the pristine land of neighboring Rancho Santa Fe. Principal/lead designer Victoria Currens and her staff chose color schemes akin to the bordering vegetation and oriented the home so that the surrounding vistas were breathtaking and dramatic from anywhere in the home. An internal courtyard serves as the home's focal point.
|Here, buyers can relax, discuss their impressions of the community or look at pictures of Santaluz on the walls.|
"The landscaping, architecture and the interiors all worked together to create the ambience of the community," Currens says. "With a very discriminating buyer, someone who's bought many homes in the past, it's not enough to sell them in the typical way because they've been there and done that. You need a more sophisticated approach, and then it really becomes about finding the right products for the right person. It's a different approach to promoting the community."
Nadine Corrigan, marketing director for Santaluz, agrees. While regional newspaper and magazine advertisements, a television campaign and DVD about Santaluz's vision, and a self-produced, semiannual magazine called Land & Light are the community’s main marketing initiatives, Corrigan says 25% of interested buyers visit the Santaluz House through word-of-mouth. A staff of 14 people works out of the house.
"Because we work out of the home, we're in a better position to represent the lifestyle of Santaluz because we are physically here every day," Corrigan says. "We engage with our customer base on a daily basis. We know who's purchasing, who's looking, and we have a firsthand understanding of what the guest profile is."
One-third of the 306 custom home lots and 350 of the 529 tract homes (with two production home communities not yet available) were sold in the first 16 months after the Santaluz House opened for sales. Corrigan says weekly traffic has averaged 700 people, with peaks as high as 1,000. Santaluz is the fastest-selling custom home site community in San Diego County, and Corrigan gives the Santaluz House much of the credit for that.