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development when all else fails? Mark Gray looks at ways to increase sales and occupancy in a development which is slow-selling and lacking interest

As most developers are aware, effective marketing and strong branding is critical to the success of a residential development, particularly in times of economic difficulty when sales traditionally dry up. Conditions are undoubtedly tough for builders and developers at present, many of whom are left with properties that simply aren’t selling.

total rebrand will solve the problem. However, whilst a re- evaluation of the effectiveness of your brand may well be in order, any action that you take needs to be set firmly in context of the overall development. Embarking on a rebrand without revisiting the fundamentals will do only half the job.


IS IT OUT OF YOUR HANDS? Inevitably, the success of a development will be subject to a myriad of factors – some of which will be out of your control. Interest rates, unemployment levels, inflation and the general state of the economy will all be instrumental in the success, or failure, of your development. And whilst government initiatives such as the New Homes Bonus and recent planning changes are all designed to inject movement into the building industry, these measures will inevitably take time to work through the system and make a tangible difference. So, it’s fairly obvious that it’s no

Mark Gray is Director of Tassell Design, design and marketing agency. For more information, visit

use waiting around for the economic situation to change – as a developer you need to take action now. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to improve sales, but to succeed you will need to be objective and thorough.

t’s easy to assume that if sales are poor that the marketing must be at fault and that a

RE-EVALUATE BEFORE REBRANDING Design companies such as mine play an important role in creating the right identity for each development, determined by the target demographic. However, if your properties aren’t selling, there could be any number of reasons. Before embarking on any form of rebranding, you need to first re-evaluate all aspects of the development to determine the reasons for that lack of sales. Is it location? Or maybe the wrong mix of houses? Only once you have identified the problem can you come up with the solution to fix it. There are a number of things

that have to be considered. Are the fundamentals right? Are you targeting the right market? An experienced developer will always research the surrounding area, but it is worth looking at the development again with a fresh pair of eyes. Get figures from the local authority planning department for the number of new houses built and look for business growth as signs of a prosperous area. What is the demand? Do

people want what you are selling?

For example, is the greatest demand for luxury apartments or affordable accommodation for first time buyers? Are you selling the lifestyle

that your target customer aspires to? Young professionals often want stylish town centre apartments, whereas retired couples are more likely to want a secure and quieter environment. If you feel confident that you

are meeting all these criteria, the next step is to look at strategies that will help improve sales – including giving some thought to rebranding.

IS IT SIMPLE TO BUY? So why isn’t your ideal customer buying? Have you really done all you can to make the process as easy as possible? If money is found to be an

issue, revisit the way your finance package is structured. Is the pricing right? Can you offer more flexibility? You should consider low or no deposit schemes, staggered payments, personal finance plans or shared equity funding for first time buyers. As belts tighten, these strategies are increasingly being used to tempt buyers into

It is integral to make sure how the house looks on the inside matches the idea you are selling with the exterior | British Builder & Developer | 29

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