Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. (tkhomedesign.com) has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Housingzone.com. Todd welcomes your feedback at email@example.com or 248.446.1960.
Traveling around the country I see a lot of renderings - most of them leave a whole lot to be desired. The worst are the black and white CAD drawings with a computer generated tree or two to add some flavor. I also see a lot of 3D computer renderings that are cold and uninviting. Often 3D renderings leave very little to the imagination. Computer renderings can be effective if they are soft and inviting and the sketchy hand drawn look seems to be the most popular with buyers. Selling a vision of the home is far more effective than presenting a computerized "photo" of the house.
Your building niche is irrelevant when it comes to selling the dream. Whether you sell green, cost per square foot, quality or any other specialty the best approach is to start by pulling customers in emotionally through your renderings/website. The most successful builders get this. Their renderings look as though an architect with an artist's eye sat down with a paintbrush and imagined the perfect home. The potential buyers see the renderings and fall in love. Trust me they will not envision their dream with a CAD blackline.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of tying emotions into the first impression of a buying experience. Sure the buyers will be sold on value, reputation and quality but if they are turned off (or just as important not turned on) at the first mouse click it will be a tough road to hoe to bring them around to purchase, or even inquire further.
Take a look at how you are presenting your homes to the public. Do you stun them with beautiful drawings that make them drool at first sight? Does your artwork pop off the page and evoke visions of their dreams of a home where they will create future memories? Or are you showing people the same uninspired renderings that they have seen over and over again, reducing their buying decision to just price and product? If the latter is the case, invest in your companies future and get professional artwork done — the results will amaze you.