Focus Discussion of the Week:
There’s no time like the present. With current mortgage rates at a historic low, it’s safe to say that homeowners are confident in their ability to make their move. In this week’s episode, two homeowners join us to discuss why they chose to buy a new home during the pandemic, and how working from home influenced their decision.
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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.
[00:00:00] Sara: What was my home office became the second child’s bedroom. And we had done some renovations, last summer to create a new home office, which was our dining room right off the foyer. So we thought we were in good shape. And then I got pregnant again with the third child. So now we not only are running out of space.
we’re, you know, we had thought to ourselves like, Hey, the babies could share a room. You know, we were trying to how we could stay in this house and then COVID hit. So covert hit and everybody has home my home office. It’s just not conducive to quarantining. the noise level. We have a beautiful open floor plan, high ceiling.
We live in Charleston, South Carolina, and the noise level with just people talking carried into this office that we had just made, over the summer, you know, for me to work from home.
Sara: Everything just became really tight. This beautiful open floor plan really [00:01:00] became tricky with my husband who now had to work from home part of the day, me trying to hold calls and conference calls all day.
And then. Now adding a third child to the mix. So it just was a huge culmination of things that happened to us over the past few months. For sure.
Matt: Hi, welcome. To building perspective with Matt Riley and Mollie Elkman, we’re here to bring value
Mollie: to you and your team by exploring all things, sales and marketing related
Matt: all from different perspectives. All right. Welcome to another episode of building perspective, where we are sometimes a weekly podcast.
we have taken a [00:02:00] break for the past couple of weeks. we’ve had. It’s been crazy. We’ve had, COVID crazy. We’ve had worked from home crazy. We’ve had social unrest crazy. we’ve had homebuilder tech crazy. And so it was, it’s just been crazy.
Mollie: I hope you all missed us cause we did not our own voices.
Matt: So we are now officially the sometimes weekly podcast.
now we’re going to have to get back on track and I was just chatting with Mollie about like what we were going to talk about. And she just said, press record. So I said, okay, here we go. so welcome to season two of shut up and press record. And now what we have today guys is this is always as a marketer.
To me, it’s always one of the most fun things to do. And that is talk to talk to actual customers, talk to people, buying the stuff that we’re marketing and selling. Which is a homes. [00:03:00] And so, what we’ve done as we have interviewed and going to continue to interview. Homeowners that have, at this point in the game have purchased a home within the kind of March, February, March timeline, up until now and this time.
And now is the official date is July the sixth. You
Mollie: didn’t interview me and I’m closing on a home tomorrow.
Matt: You are correct. We’re going to have to add that in there, but what we’ve done is we’re talking to folks about why they’ve purchased, why they continue to purchase during the COVID era. and also like, Hey, did anything that you were looking for change?
Did the criteria change because of it? And so, we’ve got two, two interviews and we’re going to Mollie and I’m going to try that a little bit about it. Then we’re going to play the interview, one of them, and then we’ll chime back in and chat up a little bit about the [00:04:00] next interview. And then we’ll play that one for you.
And that’ll be this episode. And then we’ll drop these inter intermittently throughout as we, as we kind of gathered them together. but the first one is a buyer. Her name is Marissa. She moved from the Florida area to. My area Raleigh, the Raleigh area suburb of Raleigh. I do not know Marissa. She was referred to me by someone that I do know off of Facebook.
And so, cause I put the message out and said, you know, we want to chat with people. So, Marissa relocated and then she’s kind of stayed here as usual here. She stayed with some family for a bit,
Mollie: listen to heresa and then we’ll, we’ll chime in at the end.
Matt: Okay, so we’re going to pause, not really. It’s going to fake internet pause.
You’re going to hear the, hear the odd interview. And then when we come back, Mollie and I are going to be talking about the interview, so, okay. Here is Marissa.
Marisa: so I recently just relocated from Florida, just [00:05:00] South of Daytona beach. I was in Florida for the past 20 years. About seven years ago, my parents moved to how we sprain and after they moved my aunt and uncle followed my cousins, my sisters.
So I was the only one. Left in Florida. So, being closer to my family was major reason why I moved here and I applied for a job with this day last summer. And I got the job in September and I made the move up here last October. So I was living with my family and sequelae away first and while I was looking for a house and then I just purchased in may.
Matt: Awesome. Okay. So you relocated here for work and obviously to be closer to family. So that’s something that we can all relate to. so you said you, you obviously, you were living with family in the interim, from between September-ish and now, and. When [00:06:00] you were thinking about, you know, what not, when you’re thinking about when you were moving in, all in looking at this process and this whole COVID thing came up, did that, did that ever put the brakes on for you or did you decide I’m going to pause and not buying anything yet and kind of, kind of see how this plays out.
What was your, what was your thought process there?
Marisa: I moved up in October. I started working. I mean, it was what we want my family, so it wasn’t in a rush. it wasn’t really finding anything at the end of last year. And then once. COVID hit and everything. It really didn’t change the process for me. We kept working.
I did the only thing that was a little bit different issue. Then we would go into the house is, my realtor really wearing gloves, cleaning everything as we walked through and making sure nobody else was in the house. But other than that, it really didn’t change anything for me.
Matt: Okay, so there, so there was no [00:07:00] financial uncertainty, may not buy something right now.
So you are already in the market obviously, cause you relocated here. So, and you were living temporary with family, but there was no, there was ever, there was never any hesitation on, should I buy something now? Or should I maybe go rent an apartment or rent a house for a short period of time and kind of figure this out.
Marisa: It ran through my head, Oh, should I be buying right now? What’s going to happen with our economy. But thankfully I have a job with the state. you know, my hours didn’t change. I’m full, full, employed, full time. and you know, I just was like, you know, if the right house comes along, I will take it. And luckily that happened for me, but I.
you know, sold my house in Florida and I just, I didn’t want to rent, so I was just kind of waiting. but renting really wasn’t ever an option that I wanted to go with.
Matt: Okay. Very good. Now, [00:08:00] one of the things, so did he, so where are you, where were you working from home at all? Or are you still working from home?
Marisa: I was working. I would work right. in Raleigh, I was not working from home. I am currently since March. we’ve been working from home and they kind of don’t think that. We will be going back until maybe July or August, or at least not going back full time. So I am full time working from home and I go into the office one day a week, just to kind of check on mail and things like that.
But, I work under the department of health and human services for the state. So we’re, you know, have my all guidelines.
Matt: I’m, I’m sure you are working for the, the department of health. so let me ask you, since this kind of happened, and maybe you were far enough along in the process of purchasing before the [00:09:00] state home orders hit, but did any of this play a part in.
The type of home or criteria of home that you are going to be looking for is in like the floor plan layout or things like that, that any of that play a part in, you know, or did it play a part or change any at all throughout the process for you?
Marisa: No. I always knew that I wanted a three bedroom house.
I actually lucked out with this house because it has a little extra office area, that my work computer is now set out then, but otherwise I knew that one bedroom would be, you know, an office. And so none of that criteria changed for me.
Matt: Okay. And do you have, an and not to get too personal, but do you have spouse or significant other that is also in the home?
That was that’s. That’s going to be working from home as well.
Marisa: it’s just me and my [00:10:00] dog that are here full time. my boyfriend’s in the military, so he’s also currently working from home, but we have separate houses, so we kind of have little workspaces in each area.
Matt: Okay. No, that’s great. That’s great.
Cause that’s one of the things that, you know, talk chatting with at least friends of mine, they’ll say, you know, it’s like, Oh gosh, now both of us, you know, husband and wife are both working from home at the same time and one that he doesn’t cut it. so I was just, I was just curious if, if that altered what you were.
What you were looking for, you know, from the, from the stay at home part of it, but it sounds like you already had the idea, like, all right, one of these bedrooms is going to be an office for me. And you just got lucky that this house, this particular house that you purchased happens to also have a study in it as well.
So that’s great.
Matt: Last question is, did you buy a resale home or did you buy a new home and why?
Marisa: I bought [00:11:00] raised sale. a lot of the new homes going up or in subdivisions and right on top of each other. And that’s the one thing that I really didn’t want in Florida. I had, you know, a little bit of land and I was used to that.
So, especially in like the few way Rose spring areas I was working, there’s not as many new homes going up with land. In my price budget. So I, you know, went to, we fail home and thankfully I found everything I was looking for.
Matt: Well, that’s great. Well, that’s great. Well, congratulations on finding the right home and congratulations on the move and the job, and I’m glad that, you and your family are all healthy and safe and, Yeah, I really appreciate you taking the time to just answer a few, a few quick questions.
And I think that, I know that this will be really helpful for our listeners and, and people in our industry. Just hearing from directly from customers a little bit [00:12:00] about. You know what they were thinking and why, why they like to, you know, why they decided to move in general, outside of reading stuff on a spreadsheet.
So I think it’s, I think it’s great. And I really appreciate you taking, you know, 10 minutes or so 15 minutes out of your day and chatting with me. So I really appreciate it.
Matt: Okay. Nerissa what do you think Mollie?
Mollie: You know, there were a couple of things that really stuck out in my mind based on the information that were, first being that, you know, she said she lucked out because it has an extra office area.
And I kind of latched onto a couple of the words there because how amazing is it for a buyer to feel lucky? Because of something unexpected. And that’s what I think in new construction we can kind of pull from and learn from this is like that feeling of feeling lucky because it was this little [00:13:00] something extra beyond what she, her basic criteria.
So that really stuck out to me. And I loved those two words, lucky and extra. And then, The other piece that stuck out to me, which I think didn’t stick out to you quite as much. It’s just her comment about subdivisions in general.
this preconceived notion that the homes are just on top of each other.
So, you know, she had immediately ruled out new because she thought she wanted land. So new wasn’t even something to think about. So that stuck out to me. But, I think you feel like that’s pretty.
Matt: Standard. Yeah. I mean, for me, I think, you know, going back to my days of selling in a model and as a sales manager, coaching salespeople on a day to day basis, honestly, you hear that as a common objective or objection, from buyers all the time.
Like, I don’t want to be on this small of a lot, or I feel like I’m on top of each other, but the reality [00:14:00] is, and I didn’t ask Marissa if she. Went and physically looked at other builders I should have. but that’s something that you hear often, right. And talking about it me, like she was a single female.
So I remember going okay. Are, you know, is, I remember specifically one person and individually that I sold the home to and she came to me, it was like, she was a single female. I want a big lot. I need a big lot. I want a lot of yard space and I’m like, okay. And I sold her the biggest lot in the neighborhood, which was like just a little over a quarter of an acre after she moves in.
And after the side goes in. Right, right. I should say before she moves in, before closing the sod goes in, she comes and I’m walking the lot with her. She’s freaking out because it looks, the grass is now down and it’s huge. She’s like, Matt, how did you let me get this big of a lot. This is so much grass to maintain, you know?
And so when you start looking at it that way, and really as a sales [00:15:00] person, a cert positioning and start asking those questions, like what is, what compared to what. On top of each other compared to what? Where did you come from? What size Homesite are you used to?
Sara: And I think it also creates the
Mollie: opportunity for that emotional conversation.
So what, what do you see yourself doing in that outdoor space? Like,
Matt: do you see yourself totally
Mollie: come around a table? Do you see playing soccer? I mean, those are two very different experiences, both prioritizing outdoor space, just in a different
Matt: Totally. Absolutely. And, and the other thing too is to note is as a woman, one person household, other than her dog, the floor plan criteria wasn’t really affected.
Right? So, and her moving she’s like, I relocated here, so I would, I was buying a home regardless and she felt pretty secure in her job. She works at the health department, state health department. I don’t think they’re laying anybody off anytime soon. and, but. So she was like, I was moving here regardless.
It was a [00:16:00] job relocation. I felt secure in my job. So yeah, of course I move forward. Now the floor plain criteria didn’t really change much because as a single person in a home, you know, she was planning on. Using one of the bedrooms as the, as her home office. And like you said, she felt lucky that, Oh, well, I don’t have to use one of these bedrooms as my office.
I actually have a study now. So that was kind of like the bonus check that probably took that house. Like pushed it over the edge for her. She was like, wow, this is in my budget. And I get this thing that I wasn’t anticipating, which is. Really something to me when you’re looking at product development and, or you’re looking at items that you can include in your home, that, you know, even at a lower price, I have no idea what price you, how much she spent on her home.
But even at that a lower level, a lot of times our entry level price point will think, Oh, this is only X. This buyer doesn’t expect to get this, or I’m not putting, you could get that, that one little extra little factor in there that they maybe [00:17:00] wouldn’t. Expect it’s that bonus? It’s that Easter egg. I think that can go a really long way in, in, pushing people over the, off the fence, so, okay.
So what we’re going to do next? That was, that was Marissa. And then we actually have. Sarah Williams of lasso and ECI solutions who said, Hey, Matt, we’re moving. I’d love to share our experience with you. And so it’s always fun when you get to interview someone that you’re friends with. but Sarah is experienced.
Yeah. Is was, and the reason for moving was very different. Then Marissa. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to pause, we’re going to transition into Sarah’s interview and the Mollie will come back and come back and share some thoughts about that one. So hang tight in here is Sarah.
Sara: Thanks, Matt. So, so good to be here.
Thanks for having me.
Matt: Absolutely. Okay. So let’s dive into it. and, and get into just a few quick questions. I want, I want to keep this short and sweet [00:18:00] and, and be aware of your time. So first let’s dive into, why did you guys decide to move slash move forward during this. Covert era. Was this something that you guys were already considering moving prior to coronavirus becoming a thing or did something manifest in inside of our state home orders that said, you know what?
Something’s got to change. Great
Sara: question. So I can tell you, we been. Thinking about moving fruit last may. So basically a year, we only be our house is a great house. It’s a nice size house, but we were pregnant at the time with our second year. so we kind of toyed with the idea of moving, but it’d be the right house.
So it wasn’t like we were going out, going to open houses constantly. We were watching the market carefully and seeing if a [00:19:00] house came up that would meet, you know, our check boxes and it’s not often did that happen. So we were intermittent looking only if, how. Thought we thought would meet our needs. I came on, fast forward to may of 2020.
Okay. Yeah. The past few weeks. Since we’ve had our second child, we have gotten pregnant with the third child. So that really changed the whole dynamic of our household. What was my home office became the second child’s bedroom. And we had done some renovations, last summer to create a new home office, which was our dining room right off the foyer.
So we thought we were in good shape. And then I got pregnant again with the third child. So now we not only are running out of space. we’re, you know, we had thought to ourselves like, Hey, the babies could share a room. You know, we were trying to think of how we could stay in this house and then covert hit.
So covert hit and everybody is home. Our office [00:20:00] is just not conducive to quarantining. The noise level. We have a beautiful open floor plan, high ceiling. We live in Charleston, South Carolina, and the noise level with just people talking carried into this office that we had just made, over the summer, you know, for me to work from home.
So everything just became really tight. This beautiful open floor plan really became. Tricky with my husband who now had to work from home part of the day, me trying to hold calls and conference calls all day, and then now adding a third child to the mix. So it just was a huge culmination of things that happened to us over the past few months, for sure.
Matt: Yeah. And so did you find, you know, you’re pregnant with your third child, so congrats. it, did you like the, obviously you’re like they need some more space with the third child, but did the criteria of [00:21:00] what you thought you were looking for, even with the third child coming versus now stay at home orders in place.
Did that midstream change the criteria for what you were thinking you were looking for in a house?
Sara: I would say, the home office aspect of it, Matt, was a big deal to us because anytime I looked at a floor plan prior to COVID and being at the state home orders, I thought, Oh, I could just make that dining room an office just like we just did.
I could make that living room, an office. I could, you know, you’re always thinking about how you could make one room, an office. What I’m learning with the state home orders is that when the, you know, when everybody is at daycare at school at work and I’m home working alone, It’s quite different, you know, working from home than having children at home and different things happening.
So the noise level, how noise traveled at the home office, I would say I had to really get clear about, I need a [00:22:00] designated space away from the main area of living because my dining room is very close to my great room, close to my kitchen, all of that, because it’s a huge open floor plan. I’m really. It’s just not working.
And COVID really brought that to my attention that if I did want to bring even a sitter in, think about that, like now that I’m having a third child, I might want to bring a nanny in that I would not be able to work as I’ve always done in. COVID kind of put a huge spotlight on that because people are home all day and I wouldn’t be able to use that space anymore as a home office.
If I had. It may be a nanny with the two kids at home. Just the noise level is just too high in our house. And again, open floor plans are all the rage, but for someone that works from home all the time, And home office away from that is, is really important. And this showed that to me. I’ve no doubt in my mind now after
Matt: COVID that’s interesting.
And, and you said it at the end and, and I [00:23:00] was thinking in my head right before you said it, I was like, what you’re really saying from an office perspective is you need audible privacy. You need the, that area where you can work. No one can hear you more importantly. The craziness going on in the house, doesn’t carry over and bother you in your office or carry over into your calls.
And personally, I think, I really think that. The traditional study home study that was there in the past. So it’s a re you know, the room that’s right off the foyer. That’s got the double French doors off the front. Like it’s, it’s more for looks. I think that the new home office is more of a pocket room.
Like you were saying. Off the beaten path of the house where you can close a door and just be private. so it’ll, it’ll be really interesting. as we go through these you’re at the moment, the second interview, I’ve got several of these stacked up over the next few days, and it’s going to be really interesting to see, what.
[00:24:00] How all this kind of ties together. I have a feeling, I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s a, they’re all, a lot of people are going to be seeing very similar things. Now, last question. Yeah.
Sara: I had to step outside to talk to you. I had, cause it was too loud in my house. I had to step away from what was going on in my home and I was in my home office because it was getting too noisy in there so that that’s what’s going on in real that’s real life right now.
Matt: That’s that’s that’s amazing. Okay. Last question. Did you consider or buy a new home? Brand new.
Sara: Did you know what great question we did the house that we are currently living in today. We bought it when I was 12 or 13 years old. It’s now 20 years old and we had to do a lot of the roof, the HVAC, all that kind of stuff.
So, and of course I’ve been in the new home industry for 16 plus years. So of course new is always. It’s way sexier than buying a used home. So, yes. unfortunately in the location that we’re [00:25:00] in here in Charleston and where we’re kind of set up and my son goes to school, there’s not a lot of options for what now need.
most of them are that open floor by mat. And, you know, even maybe if they had that one extra bedroom, maybe I could make that an office, but they open floor plans are all what’s on the market, which I love, but they just didn’t have that. Room that we’re talking about right now. So new construction kind of got slashed and I bought another home.
That’s about 13 years old. That has more, it’s not as open as my current house or the new construction homes, which I’m going to miss tremendously, but. Again, back to what we just experienced over the past few months. And I’m still experiencing today is some division of, for privacy, for my job and for my occupation, because they do work from home all the time, not just during, the state home orders.
Matt: So. Yeah, absolutely. Somebody probably a really big national builder is going to call up zoom. They’re going to [00:26:00] work out a deal for trademark and they’re going to create, this is my prediction, or it should be somebody should listen to this and create zoom rooms, like get size offices that are out of the air out of the way.
And it’s going to be the zoom room. That’s where you go for your conference calls.
Sara: I love it. I’m in.
Matt: Awesome. All right, Sarah, I appreciate you jumping in answering some questions. Congrats on the new home. Congrats on the new baby. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah. It’s going to be a busy I’m. Sure. Yeah. I have a busy month and a busy next couple of years with two babies under, under the age of one.
Matt: Bet you dinner. Alright, well, I’ll let you get a start and head start and I appreciate you jumping in and thanks Sarah.
Sara: Thanks, Matt. Have a good day.
Matt: Okay. So Sarah [00:27:00] from lasso, which thank you, Sarah, for joining us. You heard my commentary during the interview.
Sara: Yeah, so obviously
Mollie: I know Sarah very well.
We love Sarah. She was speaking my language. I am literally sitting right now, recording this in a. An open floor plan. And I said to you, Matt, let’s do this quickly because my kids are up from their nap. So I hear you, Sarah. I genuinely hope that builders are listening because the open floor plan, you know, really went from just being the kitchen and the, you know, the family room right off the kitchen to being a lot more open.
So I have a feeling, we are going to see some real changes to four plans, in January that are going to provide more privacy. So I thought it was hysterical. How many times she said the word noise, because again, like I hear ya, it is like you were talking my exact [00:28:00] experience. So, I really believe that we are this.
Sarah is teaching us a true COVID lesson. That’s going to apply to our industry.
Matt: Totally 100%. it was interesting because she said she chose the resale home, the used home because all the new homes on the market were just wide open floor plan wise, and she couldn’t get that privacy. It’s
Mollie: not practical with the, now that we know it is not unreasonable to think that we could all be home again at some point for a long period of time.
And that open floor plan that was so desirable is just not practical. So I, it’s very, very interesting, but of course, being in new construction as we all are, she got in there that new is sexy, which I, I loved that. She said that.
Matt: I know, right? Yeah. So anyway, I thought those were really great, you know, w w Mollie and I were just talking, [00:29:00] you know, we’re going to continue to do these and drop them out kind of individually, maybe even as many episodes as well as we continue to go.
And, and again, it’s not like. We’re doing these in mass quantity where it has statistical relevance, but it’s good to hear from people who were buying a home, why they’re buying a home, what they’re looking for. And if anything, maybe it’s going to spark you, you as a home builder to do some. Kind of thinking groups, you know, and, and with realtors in your area and with potential home buyers and people of why they bought your home.
but I, I really do think it’s going to be a little bit of, it’s going to require a little bit of an adjustment because, and it doesn’t mean you go revamp your entire floor plan line, because there’s going to be feet. There are going to be people who really want wide open spaces and they don’t work from home.
And that doesn’t mean anything to them. And that. I just think it’s something you add to the tool belt.
Mollie: Yeah. And I also think it can be an
Sara: option. It doesn’t
Mollie: have to be anything we’re talking about a small [00:30:00] space here. So just, you know, just how Marissa felt lucky because the home that she found had this space, just having the option to have, it brings so much value in today’s world.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely awesome. Okay. Well, Mollie, I know your kids are up from a nap, so we’re going to call this the end of the episode. And, we’re going to keep dropping these in, like I said, we’re going to keep dropping these in, we’ve got a couple more that we’re going to do where we’ll add some commentary, but then as we get them kind of one one-on-one, or I should say, as they drip in one at a time, I think we’re just going to, even if it’s 10 minutes.
Like, we’re just going to drop it out there as a mini episode, just call it buyer interviews continued and just let people let you hear directly from the buyer.
Mollie: And if any of our listeners are also buyers, go ahead and send us a message. Cause
Matt: your beyond. Absolutely. Awesome. All right guys. Well, you all, everyone have an amazing day, an amazing week [00:31:00] and as always, thanks for tuning in to building perspective, the sometimes weekly podcast.
Thanks guys. Have a great week. .