Hit the Gas, Tap the Brakes, and Change Direction | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Hit the Gas, Tap the Brakes, and Change Direction

COVID-19’s massive impact on home life has sent clear signals that our clients are using to adjust their home sales, marketing, and designs. Here are 6 strategies we suggest, along with a 25-minute presentation Mikaela Sharp recently gave summarizing the consumer shifts and strategies.

Sales and Marketing

  • Hit the gas: Go all in selling healthy living, particularly highlighting cleanliness and air quality in a brand new home.
  • Tap the brakes: Scale back marketing emphasis on sustainability features unless they also come with utility cost savings. While still deeply important, they are less of a selling point right now.
  • Change direction: Shift the quality-of-life discussion away from exciting experiences toward controlling your destiny with an owned home.


  • Hit the gas: Include multiple places in the home that can flex into work-from-home spaces.
  • Tap the brakes: Open layouts won’t need to be as vast, with more square footage accommodating privacy and separation from the noise.
  • Change direction: Allocate more of your budget for practical spaces, like storage and drop zones as well as outdoor connections.

Work-From-Home Spaces

DesignLens example: Beech at The Cannery in Davis, CA (CalAtlantic Homes/Lennar)

Accommodating Privacy and Separation from Noise

DesignLens example: Ellison Park in Milpitas, CA (The New Home Company)

Practical Spaces

DesignLens example: Summit Collection at Canyon Point Traverse Mountain in Lehi, UT (Toll Brothers)

While the rise in unemployment is unprecedented, our July survey of 1,276 homeowners informed us that 68%+ of households with income greater than $60k have not been negatively impacted financially. These households have been saving, might even have received some government stimulus, and many of them would like to live in a nicer home. That is a great target audience.

If you would like to receive regular housing and product trend insights, please reach out to Jenni Lantz at jlantz@realestateconsulting.com on how to become a member of DesignLens.

Join us at next month’s HIRI Insights Summit where Todd Tomalak and Mikaela Sharp will present our research on COVID-19’s impact on the wealth gap and what it means for consumer preferences. Learn how you can sign up for the free “stay-at-home” event on HIRI’s website.

Mikaela Arroyo If you have any questions, please contact Mikaela Sharp, Manager, Trends and Innovation, at (949) 870-1203 or by email.