They may be down, but they’re definitely not out.
Colorado Springs residential builders and developers are a hardy bunch. Local companies like Keller Homes, Vantage Homes, Nor’wood Development, Classic Homes and Campbell Homes have weathered previous downturns in the economy and emerged stronger.
Today, marketing budgets might be tighter, jobs might have been sacrificed and spec homes might be breaking ground only sparingly, but residential real estate continues to be an entrepreneur’s business — and entrepreneurs are famous for their unstoppable determination to succeed.
And it appears that builders and developers are far from ready to give up on local home buyers or on the market. They’re looking at creative ways to appeal to the human psyche, in good markets and bad.
As the real estate market continued to decline during the fourth quarter of 2007, Michelle Grove-Reiland, managing broker for The Spires Broadmoor, decided to pull together four builders and developers in the Cheyenne Mountain area to discuss joint marketing strategies.
Represented at the meeting were the Canyons at Broadmoor, Broadmoor Ridge by Keller Homes, Bella Collina by High Country Homes, Star Ranch by Nichols & Comito and The Spires.
Looking for ways to stretch marketing dollars and reach beyond individual company budgets, the group discussed common selling points and product differences.
“One thing we immediately realized was how limited the land inventory in our area really was,” Grove-Reiland said. “With only 123 lots remaining, and unlike north Colorado Springs where new home sites are plentiful, our location sets us apart.”
Larry Nichols, a partner at Nichols & Comito, saw the joint effort as logical and well-timed.
“The lots, the builders and the developments are all different,” he said. “But that variety appeals to different people’s needs. By promoting collectively we can generate sales for all of us.”
Ron Delay, who owns the Canyons at Broadmoor, said the joint venture is much like the “Motor City” concept.
“The hope is that the ads and signs will draw buyers to visit available lots, talk to participating companies — and referrals can be made between us,” he said.
As the group set about creating a marketing plan, jobs were divvied up. One company took responsibility for getting city approval for sign permits at key intersections. Another helped design a glossy print ad for an upscale local magazine. Others volunteered to work on special events.
“I see the collaboration as a chance to see ‘added value,’ over and above Keller’s internal marketing program,” said Dana Craig, vice president of sales for Keller Homes. “It’s a little early to evaluate results, but we did have at least one buyer who walked in the door already this year with a copy of a magazine ad we’d run. It was someone new we’ve never worked with before. I think the additional awareness is helping.”
Grove-Reiland said the effort is already a success and believes that participants will realize more sales than if they had relied on individual advertising and promotion.
“In the current economy, it can be difficult to justify big ad budgets,” she said. “This way, not only can we promote our distinct properties, but we can make people aware that there won’t always be land available in this part of town. And together, we can be out there consistently and for a longer time.”