55 Builder Tips for 55+ Buyers
The 55+ population is a large, affluent demographic that is likely a target for all builders, whether they specifically develop active-adult communities or not. To help builders get inside the head of today’s 55+ buyer, the 55+ Housing Industry Council recently hosted a webinar, “55 Builder Tips for 55+ Buyers,” to share tips on how to best meet the needs of the 55+ home buying market. Panelists covered tips in six key areas:
- Research (presented by Bryon Cohron of ProMatura Group)
- Development (presented by Jennifer Landers of Newland)
- Architecture and Research (presented by Jim Riviello of The Martin Architectural Group)
- Architecture Design (presented by Deryl Patterson of Housing Design Matters)
- Interior Design & Merchandising (presented by Lita Dirks of Lita Dirks & Co.)
- Marketing (presented by Jane O’Connor of 55 Plus, LLC)
- Stairs: Never include a straight run, Patterson recommended. Instead, incorporate a landing as a rest spot.
- Flex rooms: Whether it’s a combination office/den/guestroom or a hobby room to explore or celebrate special interests, the more uses buyers can envision for a room, the more value it adds.
- Storage: This is a big plus for 55+ buyers, so smart solutions are a must. Think closets and under stairs, as well as permanent access to less-used spaces, such as the basement or an attic above the garage.
- Kitchen: This is a central entertaining spot where details are important. This includes upgraded appliances, such as drawer microwaves; large islands; and comfortable seating.
- Bathroom: Pay particular attention to the shower, with features such as a seat, handheld showerhead and a no-threshold entry. Patterson also recommended a separate toilet room for privacy, with room for future grab bars (which shrink the room by about 6 inches).
- Lighting: Design homes to allow as much natural light as possible, but also be cognizant of lighting for both mood and function. “The average 60-year-old needs six times as much light to see as a 20-year-old,” Patterson shared. Well-placed lighting can have a huge impact on spaces such as stairs, hallways and bathrooms.