Through standard technology in its active adult communities, national homebuilder Lennar proves that you can, indeed, teach an older buyer new tricks.
The standard tech is integrated through Lennar’s “Everything’s Included” promise. While this may seem like a business concept tailor-made for the younger generation of Millennials, the 55-plus demographic is hopping aboard as well.
“They love it,” says Jay Goldberg, regional marketing director for Lennar. “And we’re adding more of it, even to our active adult communities.”
Thus, Greenbriar was born—a series of communities around the Tri-State area specifically designed and marketed towards the 55-plus, active adult homebuyer.
Greenbriar Targets Older Homebuyers
Lennar has discovered that, in a way, the older market represents the biggest gross of people who are embracing technology for the first time.
“It’s funny. I think that more and more people are embracing the technologies that help your home run better, at any age,” says Goldberg, who adds that older homebuyers are particularly interested in home technologies that can be controlled and maintained from their mobile device.
“You might argue that we’re all getting a little bit lazier,” he chuckles. “That’s why we have remote controls for the televisions, right? We haven’t had to get up to change the channel for 40 years!”
Goldberg has found that this demographic loves the mobility and convenience of many home technologies such as programmable thermostats controlled via smart phones. In addition, lighting and security has garnered mass appeal among older buyers.
“The active adult, perhaps even more so than the younger buyer, embraces these two concepts, which complement each other,” he says. “Older buyers, especially, want to feel safe in their homes.”
Conquering the Learning Curve
While these technologies are certainly appealing and attractive to the older buyer, according to Goldberg, there is a learning curve associated with a generation that hasn’t grown up with these types of innovations.
Lennar openly embraces the challenge.
“[Home technology] has to be simplistic and intuitive for the older buyer to use it. If they have any difficulty in programming or setting up whatever they are using, they back away from it,” he says.
The one technology where Lennar has seen this demographic struggle to adapt and embrace is the programmable combination door lock, which some older buyers have found confusing.
“There has been some resistance, but this learning curve can still be conquered,” says Goldberg.
“Orientation” is in Session
Lennar tackles these issues right off the bat, through a process it calls “orientation.”
Customers go through this procedure when they are first introduced to the home upon purchase. It takes about an hour to an hour-and-a-half, during which they are walked through the home and introduced to all the mechanical systems.
Technology is also explained. Orientation is executed by the construction team, which consists of experts who use these technologies all the time.
“The orientation and personal education of how to use these systems is so important. It needs to be done,” says Goldberg.
As long as consumers feel it is simplistic, intuitive and they receive the proper education regarding it, home technology can be appealing to any age group.
It’s a concept Lennar has embraced and proven with its Greenbriar communities and will continue to explore with active adult communities all around the country.
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