Chad Williams of Pepper Viner Homes uses technology in his Arizona communities to captivate Millennials and close deals—an expertise he’ll bring to the TecHome Builder Summits, being held in Fort Worth, Texas from December 7 to 9.
In the joint session, “Appealing to Distinct Demographics with Tech,” Williams will join green builders, women-focused builders and more to discuss how to market to specific and broad demographics.
We spoke to Williams about the recent success of his two communities—Park Modern and The Schoolyard—and how technology plays a key role in appealing to Millennial homebuyers who have purchased homes from Pepper Viner over this past year.
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How has business been this past year?
Business is great—going very well. We have a lot of closings next month. Out of the 37 lots in Park Modern, we only have two left. It exploded and sold like crazy.
That’s great. And many of these buyers have been Millennials, correct?
Mainly, yes. And what’s crazy is that most of these sold before we even had a model. People bought these houses off of paper. I wasn’t able to demonstrate the automation, because we didn’t have a house! However, we did use VR through Google Cardboard. People could put the little headset on and look around the rooms. Now, we can walk them around. We’ve got everything hooked up.
VR seems like a great way to market to Millennials, being an emerging technology. How else do you market to this demographic?
We’ve been doing a ton of advertising, and the majority of this has been on social media. This is where we are getting most of our traffic from.
Also, the term “smart home” is thrown around so much that it’s really hard for us to market it that way. What we want to focus on goes beyond, “Oh, it’s just a smart home”—it’s all about the ecosystem of the home. All the parts and pieces need to be there for it to be fully integrated. It’s a lifestyle choice. In other words, it’s creating the environment. Everybody has a smart phone these days. You carry it with you everywhere you go. Why wouldn’t you be able to control your thermostat from a remote device or ensure your garage door is open or closed?
You include a lot of standard technologies in these homes, but you also have a lot of add-on packages. What has this hybrid approach done for your business?
When you think about it, we are throwing a ton of included features at these buyers. We just had a realtor grand opening at The Schoolyard. We demonstrated the RTI automation, plus all the bells and whistles. Part of that standard package is you get a Sonos sound bar, you get an HDTV, an Apple TV, Nest thermostats, Ring doorbell—it all comes included and set up.
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But people are still upgrading items?
They are upgrading items, yes. One buyer added $12,000 worth of items after closing. I haven’t sold an XBOX One or Playstation 4 package yet though!
What are you most excited for at the upcoming TecHome Builder Summits?
I’m most excited about hearing what new items are in the pipeline and what other builders are doing with tech. Also, how are others marketing or differentiating themselves in their respective markets?
Chad Williams will be speaking in the Executive Program joint session, “Appealing to Distinct Demographics with Tech” at the TecHome Builder Summits next month. You can learn more about the event here.
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